Breech Reliability Improvement

NCMS Project #: 140938

Problem: A breech-loading gun is one in which the cartridge or shell is inserted or loaded into a chamber integral to the rear portion of a barrel. While breech-loading firearms were developed as far back as the late 14th century, breech-loading became more successful with improvements in precision engineering and machining in the 19th century. As technology and new material solutions and manufacturing capabilities have progressed, the need for upgrading the Self-Propelled Howitzer has also come into light. Today’s higher energy 155 mm rounds provide a greater tactical advantage; however, those same rounds seriously degrade the life of the current parts that must contain and direct that energy (i.e. the breech).

Benefit: The breech parts kit is one of the smallest subsystems to the M109, yet a failure within it not only compromises the mission but can also be life threatening to those warfighters within its vicinity. Although the new M109 breech parts kit is for a larger weapons platform, unique capabilities, materials and manufacturing processes can be extracted and implemented into existing small arms to achieve cost benefit performance improvements, including decreased maintenance and aftermarket parts needs.

Solution/Approach: The two-fold objective of this project is to identify a capable source to design and deliver M284 Breech Reliability Upgrade Kits that will ensure the Self-Propelled Howitzer can maintain performance, production and readiness rates. Additionally, validation of the manufacturing processes is a critical aspect of the project, which will greatly reduce excessive lead times, improve efficiencies and production costs, maintenance activities and spares replacement.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Reduced risk of a catastrophic explosive failure
  • Upgraded safety, reliability and accuracy
  • Cost savings in maintenance and repair

DOD Participation:

  • SPHS
  • U.S. Army ARDEC (Benet Labs)
  • U.S. Army ARDEC (M109 Cab/Lethality Systems)

Industry Participation:

  • Triumph
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Maintenance avoidance and reliability
  • Obsolescence management and continued maintenance capability
  • Maintenance management improvement
  • Improved readiness
  • Reliability improvement

Focus Area:

  • Reliability improvement