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New deployable kennels for military dogs mitigate...


New deployable kennels for military dogs mitigate temperature extremes

Military working dogs perform a variety of valuable duties, sometimes in very hot or cold environments.
This new, deployable kennel is expected to be fielded by the Program Executive Office Ammunition in December 2014. The kennel will support deploying units that have military working dogs, and includes air conditioning and heat for extreme environments. In addition, the new kennel includes a shelter and a "run" or exercise area that allows dogs to stretch their legs. The kennel can be set up by two Soldiers in less than 15 minutes.

In Afghanistan, summer temperatures soar to 120 degrees and winter temperatures dip into the teens.

Mix in some blinding sandstorms and one can appreciate the importance of adequate military shelter not only for Soldiers, but also for military working dogs.

To keep the working dogs healthier and more comfortable during deployments, Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center engineers from Picatinny and Rock Island are developing kennels for environments with temperature extremes, said Project Officer Frank Altamura, who is with the Program Executive Office for Ammunition.

The duties of military working dogs include patrolling and searching for explosive and narcotics.

"Military working dogs have been used for different missions within the Army since Vietnam, and they are probably the most reliable source of explosive detection that the Army has," Altamura said.

The new, portable kennels will have a forced-air system that provides fresh air circulation inside the shelter in the absence of natural breezes, heated air during extreme cold and cooled air during extreme heat.

The operating temperatures inside the kennel are a minimum of 45 degrees when the temperature outside the kennel is 5 degrees. When the temperature is 120 degrees outside, the inside temperature cannot exceed 85 degrees.

The temperature requirements were approved by the Army Veterinary Corps headquartered at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Because the current portable kennels, called Vari Kennels, are open-air, they must be kept in the barracks with troops so that the temperature is controlled.

"The new kennel gives the dog his own place, while not being cramped in the Vari Kennel in the troop's quarters," Altamura said.

In addition, the new kennel includes a shelter and along with a "run" or exercise area that allows dogs to stretch their legs. The dogs will access the run area through a doggie door that lets them enter and exit the shelter as they please.


The length of a mission determines what type of kennel is used, explained Deputy Project Officer Tom Case. On missions that last up to 30 days, the dogs stay in Vari Kennels. The new deployable kennel will house the dogs when they are on missions that last from 30 to 180 days.

Beyond 180 days, the dogs are housed in brick and mortar structures. The kennel can be used independent of the "run" area and is designed to be transported on quick notice on the back of a truck. If a Soldier needs to take the dog to a forward operating base, he can remove the run and only take the kennel if the mission will be under 30 days.

The kennels are modular and can be assembled by two people in less than 15 minutes with relatively few tools. The kennels are 48 inches long, by 24 inches wide, by 40 inches high and the attachable run is 6 feet long, by 4 feet wide, by 4 feet high.

The new kennels have passed numerous environmental tests at Aberdeen Test Center in Aberdeen, Md. In addition, testing with dogs has contributed to changes in kennel design.

"The doggie door at one time was aluminum skinned, like the walls, with insulation inside to keep the heat and cold in," Altamura said." But we discovered that the door was too heavy and it kept hitting the dog. After a few times going in and out, the dogs refused to go through it. So that was a major change we had to make."

The program is preparing to seek bids for production.The kennels are scheduled for deployment abroad and to training facilities in December 2014 with fielding and logistics support from the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command.

PEO Ammunition was assigned the management of the Family of Military Working Dog Equipment Program for the Army, and is a participant in the Department of Defense working group.

PEO Ammo completes Excalibur 1a-2 production...


PEO Ammo completes Excalibur 1a-2 production, transitions to 1b


On April 3, the Excalibur Program completed assembly of the last Increment Ia-2 projectile and transitioned to Increment Ib production.

First fielded in 2007, Excalibur is the Army’s GPS-guided, precision 155 mm artillery projectile. It couples GPS technology with an inertial measurement unit to provide accurate, first-round fire-for-effect capability in an urban setting with accuracy better than 4 meters Circular Error Probable (CEP).

“The successful transition from Excalibur Increment Ia-2 to Ib production is a significant step in the lifecycle of the program,” said Lt. Col. Joshua Walsh, Product Manager Excalibur with the Program Executive Office Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. “This new capability provides the Warfighter with increased accuracy and reliability at a reduced cost.”

This milestone marks eight years of Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) production and assembly at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, Okla.

More than 6,500 Increment Ia rounds have been delivered to the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and several international customers.

Soldiers help Picatinny engineers test new lightweight...


Soldiers help Picatinny engineers test new lightweight mortar system


PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- Mortar system operators and maintainers visited Picatinny to help conduct a Technical Manual Validation and Verification event for the new lightweight M252A1 81mm Mortar Weapon System March 18 - 20.

During the technical manual reviews, the Soldiers performed tasks using only the technical manuals as guides. This testing ensures that the manuals will be understandable to deployed Soldiers and Marines when they receive the new mortar system this summer.

The new 81mm mortar system, which is currently in development at Picatinny, is 13 percent lighter than the current system, making it easier for service members to carry.

"We do concurrent reviews of the maintainer and operator manuals to cut down the amount of time we're in a technical manual review," said Breanna Merenda, an Integrated Logistics Support Manager for the Program Executive Office for Ammunition.

"This is a Soldiers hands-on event where we verify the tasks as written in the technical manual. The purpose to is to ensure that when a Soldier picks up this manual, even a Soldier at the lowest level, a private, can understand these tasks and use the system or maintain the system in the way it was designed to be used and maintained." During the review, Soldiers go through each page of the manuals, line by line, looking for any errors or anything that they find confusing.

"If the wording doesn't make sense, or a drawing doesn't make sense, we pause and then reconvene after the issues have been cleared up," Merenda said. "It's critical that we don't interfere with them following the tasks because we need them to sign off on these manuals and say, "yes, this makes sense to me" so that anyone who doesn't have experience with this system can utilize it."

Seven Soldiers participated in the TM review.

"It translates the manual into a better language that we can understand at a lower level," mortarman Staff Sgt. Rodney Nash with the 1-19 Infantry Battalion at Fort Benning, said about the technical manual reviews.

The TM review also gives the mortar maintainers and operators a sneak peak at the new system.

"The guys at FORSCOM are definitely going to like it, because a lot of guys have to walk with it on their backs and it weighs you down," Nash said. "So when they're carrying it out there it will be a lot lighter so it's a lot easier to manipulate." Participants included Soldiers from the user community at the Training and Doctrine Command and the maintenance community at the Combined Arms Support Command, technical writers from Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command and engineers from the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center who developed the system.

"It's one of the few chances we get to interact with the Soldiers, get their input on the system, see what works and doesn't work, and take down notes for future changes that might make it a little easier for them," Merenda said. "Overall it's a great opportunity for our office to interact with the guys who will be using the system in the field."

Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program (SHARP)

PEO Ammunition Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program (SHARP) is in effect and here to help.

Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program Information:
Picatinny SHARP 24x7 Hotline: 862-210-0296
DoD SAFE Hotline: 1-877-995-5247
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