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CONTACT: John Snyder, 518-266-5055
FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011
ON SITE: John Snyder, 518-266-5055

Watervliet Arsenal Teams Up With National Guard to Retrieve Unique Cannon

Media Advisory

WATERVLIET, NY (04/12/2011)-- A-one-of-a-kind experimental howitzer designed and built by a unique team of defense contractors and the Watervliet Arsenal in the mid-1990s will be returned to the Arsenal Wednesday, April 13, by members from the New York Army National Guard. The original plan had been to deliver the cannon in December, but bad weather at Camp Ethan Allen in Vermont where the cannon was being kept, and continual winter snowfalls there, forced a postponement until spring. WHO: Personnel from the Watervliet Arsenal Museum and U.S. Army Benét Laboratories, along with Soldiers from the Queensbury-based 1427th Transportation Company, will be available for interviews. WHAT: The General Dynamics test range facility in Jericho, VT, is donating an experimental lightweight 155mm howitzer to the Watervliet Arsenal museum. This is the last remaining howitzer stemming from a 1995 collaboration between defense contractors and the Watervliet Arsenal. This team designed, engineered, manufactured, and tested the howitzer, all within one year’s time. Normally, this process takes at least five years. It will be moved from Vermont by truck to its final resting place at the Watervliet Arsenal. WHEN: Approximately 10:00 a.m., April 13, 2011. WHERE: Watervliet Arsenal Museum, Watervliet, NY, 12144 Coverage Opportunities: Still and video imagery of the unique gun being offloaded from a flatbed trailer and moved to its final resting place at the Watervliet Arsenal museum. Access: Media planning to attend are encouraged to contact John Snyder at 518-266-5055 prior to 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 13 to ensure timely access to the Watervliet Arsenal. Background: One of the lessons learned from the battlefield successes against Iraqi forces in the early 1990s was that combat systems had to be lighter so that U.S. forces could more rapidly deploy to future combat zones. Those who were responsible for the Army’s acquisition of field artillery systems turned to defense contractors, as well as to its sole Army-owned large caliber manufacturer, the Watervliet Arsenal, to design, test, and field lighter artillery systems. The main challenges to this redesign were how to maintain the weapon’s capabilities in regards to type of munitions fired, number of rounds per minute fired, and the weapons maximum effective range in light of a significant reduction of weight. This howitzer was nearly 50 percent lighter and had more firepower than artillery pieces fielded at that time. By 1995, there was a heated race to design, develop, and test revolutionary artillery systems and the Watervliet Arsenal was in the thick of it thanks to the unique capabilities that resides at this historic post. The Army’s Benét Laboratory, which is a premier future weapons research and design facility, is collocated with the Department of Defense’s only remaining large caliber manufacturing center, the Watervliet Arsenal. Together, these two Army facilities can rapidly take a concept from prototype development to full production all within a five minute walk. Only two prototype howitzers were tested by then Lockheed Martin Defense Systems in the deserts of Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, in 1996. Although this gun was nearly 50 percent lighter than the 155mm towed howitzers that were in use by the U.S. military during that time, it was not selected by the Army. The gun was acquired by General Dynamics when the Lockheed Martin operation was sold in 1997. Instead of destroying this last test gun, General Dynamics is donating the gun, at no cost, to the Watervliet Arsenal museum in hopes that the gun will help tell the story of artillery warfare.
© NYS DMNA Press Release:Watervliet Arsenal Teams Up With National Guard to Retrieve Unique Cannon
URL: http://dmna.ny.gov/pressroom/?id=1302617088
Page Last Modified: Apr 12, 2011