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."
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