According to Adam Zarfoss, director of artillery programs at BAE Systems, the company's PIM program "started with two lists: One was from the combat development community, saying, â€˜From a users' perspective, here are the things we would like to have fixed.' Then there was a list from the material developer and the program management community that said, â€˜Here are the things we would like to do programmatically.' The challenge to us from the product manager was to turn those two lists into an executable program."Zarfoss
continued, "What happened was that we formed a government/industry teamâ€"with BAE Systems
, TCM [TRADOC Capabilities Manager] Cannon and PM HBCTâ€"and we started to go through concepts and ideas.After we came up with what we thought was a pretty good idea, BAE Systems
, with our own IRAD [internal research and development] funding, offered to go out and â€˜build' that vehicleâ€"not build what we thought the Army wanted but build as close as we could to the Army's objective configuration."
The dialogue began in October 2006, followed by prototype production activities that led to the display of the prototype at the October 2007 AUSA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
"It was about nine months from the idea to the actual howitzer running down the road with a brand-new chassis and Bradley power train," Zarfoss
program, which encompasses both M109A6 Paladins as well as supporting field artillery ammunition support vehicles, features a combination of Bradley common components, elements from the recently unveiled non-line-of-sight cannon (NLOS-C), current Paladin components and "oth-er" components ranging from a new chassis structure (Paladin retains the M109A6 cab) to cupola ballistic protection for the chief of section.For example, Bradley common components leveraged by PIM
include 600 HP engine, HMPT 500-3ECB transmission, final drive, power takeoff, road-arm stations, torsion bars, 19.1-inch track and the majority of the driver's compartment.Examples of NLOS-C common elements include the 600V electric rammer, as well as elevation and traverse drives.
While acknowledging the critical importance of developmental engineers across the spectrum of military platforms, Zarfoss
cautioned, "This is an integration effort.It is not a design effort.Our whole goal was to integrate parts that we know work well.
"When you think about what we have done collectively, the real paradigm shift here was the understanding that â€˜the box'â€"the structureâ€"is not what drives cost for the Army in the long run," Zarfoss