Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Focus on Value: Light Vehicle Obscuration Smoke System (LVOSS) Grenade Launcher Upgrade

The ECBC Sustainment Engineering Division was called into action by the Joint Program Manager, Reconnaissance and Platform Integration when the M1114 HMMWV was replaced by the M1151 HMMWV. A new version of the LVOSS was designed, the M327 LVOSS. The primary purpose of the LVOSS is to provide a smoke screen and/or riot control deterrent to assist Military Police Units in the performance of their duties.

The main challenge during the development of the M327 LVOSS was the lack of space to mount a discharger on the roof of the HMMWV. The ECBC engineers designed a bracket to hold the front firing discharger in front of the HMMWV windshield; the rear firing discharger was moved to the left rear shoulder of the HMMWV. Moving the rear discharger created a new challenge: the M1151 HMMWV incorporated more antennas than its predecessor model, and it was impossible to aim the dischargers in order to miss the antennas. A test plan was devised to identify the impact the smoke system would have on the antennas. The system was tested by repeatedly launching the M90 smoke grenade rounds aiming directly at the antennas of the M1151 HMMWV at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Edgewood, Maryland. The test results confirmed that, despite cosmetic damage to the antennas, there was no degradation in the radio signal due to the grenades colliding with the antenna.

In 2009 a production contract was awarded on a Best Value Evaluation. Substantial savings over previous versions were realized. In addition to full scale procurement, a program to convert excess M310 LVOSS into M327 LVOSS was implemented. New interface brackets, hardware and wiring harnesses were provided by the manufacturer. The Design Engineering and Test Facility at Rock Island Site converted the excess M310 LVOSS into M327 LVOSS. Since the M310 and M327 have nearly 80% common components, the cost of 570 M327 LVOSS converted was significantly reduced and a savings of $571,578.90 was realized.

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