1
Introduction

The U.S. Army’s ground-based artillery, currently based on the Paladin (a self-propelled howitzer from the 1960s), ranks ninth in the world behind the ground-based artillery of such countries as Iraq and North Korea.1 In an effort to ensure an artillery overmatch for the first time since World War II, the Army commissioned the Crusader.2

Each Crusader system would consist of two subsystems, an armored 155-mm self-propelled howitzer and a resupply vehicle that has two versions: an armored tracked vehicle and an unarmored wheeled vehicle. The Crusader artillery system would provide enhanced survivability, lethality, and mobility and is more easily deployed and sustained than current systems. In the more than 40 years since the Paladin was designed, many significant improvements in such a system have become possible.

Among the most important of these is the fact that the Crusader has fully automated ammunition handling and firing. This means that soldiers no longer have to lift and load the more than 100-lb artillery shells and allows for rates of fire that are three to four times faster than the Paladin’s—more than 10 shells per minute up to 40 kilometers away. The Crusader also has the ability to fire multiple rounds to achieve simultaneous impact on the target. Another important improvement in the Crusader artillery system vis-à-vis the Paladin is that the cannon tube is water cooled, which enables extremely high rates of fire. The Crusader resupply vehicles also are equipped with a fully automated ammunition handling subsystem. This allows its three-man resupply crew to automatically transfer, while armored, up to 48 rounds of ammunition and fuel to the howitzer in less than 12 minutes.

Crusader’s command center is equipped with onboard tactical systems (including decision aids), advanced position and navigational aids, and an automated identification, friend-or-foe system. The Crusader sends and receives real-time battlefield information through the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, and it can communicate directly with other combat vehicles. The secure data transmission network digitally links the howitzer, the resupply vehicle, and the rest of the battlefield to give every vehicle real-time situational awareness.3 Unlike tanks (e.g., the Army’s current M1 Abrams) that fire at targets in their line of sight, artillery vehicles like Crusader fire at externally identified targets up to 40 kilometers away (Willingham, 2000).

The Crusader is being developed for the Army by United Defense, LP (UDLP) at its facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Plans in April were to produce 480 systems. Final assembly is expected

1  

See the Crusader team Web site, <http://www.teamcrusader.com>, accessed May 30, 2002.

2  

Ibid.

3  

See Crusader 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer, USA, at <http://www.army-technology.com/projects/crusader/>, The Web Site for Defense Industries—Army, accessed May 30, 2002.



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1 Introduction The U.S. Army’s ground-based artillery, currently based on the Paladin (a self-propelled howitzer from the 1960s), ranks ninth in the world behind the ground-based artillery of such countries as Iraq and North Korea.1 In an effort to ensure an artillery overmatch for the first time since World War II, the Army commissioned the Crusader.2 Each Crusader system would consist of two subsystems, an armored 155-mm self-propelled howitzer and a resupply vehicle that has two versions: an armored tracked vehicle and an unarmored wheeled vehicle. The Crusader artillery system would provide enhanced survivability, lethality, and mobility and is more easily deployed and sustained than current systems. In the more than 40 years since the Paladin was designed, many significant improvements in such a system have become possible. Among the most important of these is the fact that the Crusader has fully automated ammunition handling and firing. This means that soldiers no longer have to lift and load the more than 100-lb artillery shells and allows for rates of fire that are three to four times faster than the Paladin’s—more than 10 shells per minute up to 40 kilometers away. The Crusader also has the ability to fire multiple rounds to achieve simultaneous impact on the target. Another important improvement in the Crusader artillery system vis-à-vis the Paladin is that the cannon tube is water cooled, which enables extremely high rates of fire. The Crusader resupply vehicles also are equipped with a fully automated ammunition handling subsystem. This allows its three-man resupply crew to automatically transfer, while armored, up to 48 rounds of ammunition and fuel to the howitzer in less than 12 minutes. Crusader’s command center is equipped with onboard tactical systems (including decision aids), advanced position and navigational aids, and an automated identification, friend-or-foe system. The Crusader sends and receives real-time battlefield information through the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, and it can communicate directly with other combat vehicles. The secure data transmission network digitally links the howitzer, the resupply vehicle, and the rest of the battlefield to give every vehicle real-time situational awareness.3 Unlike tanks (e.g., the Army’s current M1 Abrams) that fire at targets in their line of sight, artillery vehicles like Crusader fire at externally identified targets up to 40 kilometers away (Willingham, 2000). The Crusader is being developed for the Army by United Defense, LP (UDLP) at its facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Plans in April were to produce 480 systems. Final assembly is expected 1   See the Crusader team Web site, <http://www.teamcrusader.com>, accessed May 30, 2002. 2   Ibid. 3   See Crusader 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer, USA, at <http://www.army-technology.com/projects/crusader/>, The Web Site for Defense Industries—Army, accessed May 30, 2002.

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Sidebar 1.1 Statement of Task This study will assess the applicability of state-of-the-art and emerging tools, including those developed under the Totally Integrated Munitions Enterprise (TIME) program, for production of the U.S. Army’s Crusader artillery system. Specifically, the committee is to review the strategy, technology, and business development plans for production of the Crusader. In this context, the committee will evaluate the Crusader program’s manufacturing vision and strategies, identify state-of-the-art and emerging manufacturing systems, and recommend opportunities for improvement, including methods to facilitate the adoption of emerging manufacturing technologies and practices. to take place in a plant to be built in Elgin, Oklahoma, adjacent to the Army’s artillery school at Fort Sill. Crusader’s place within the Army’s transformation efforts has been under close scrutiny since the late 1990s (Willingham, 2000; Eland, 2001), when strategists began to place greater emphasis on the rapid deployment by aircraft of troops and relatively lightweight equipment in response to international crises. The Crusader contractor was directed to reduce the weight of the howitzer from approximately 60 tons to 40 tons, which would allow two howitzers to be carried in an Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft. The redesign was accomplished by increasing the use of polymer composites and light metals such as titanium and by reducing the overall size of the vehicle. Detailed design for the lighter vehicle was under way as of April 2002. Live firing trials of the heavier design prototype began in February 2000 at the Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona, and in November 2000, a firing rate of 10.4 rounds per minute was achieved. The system successfully completed its Preliminary Design Review in November 2001. Currently, the government and contractor personnel involved in design and testing of Crusader are working toward the next important milestone in the Department of Defense’s system development process.1 This goal, known as Milestone B, should be reached in March 2003. Its attainment will mark the beginning of the system development and demonstration phase, which has two components—system integration, where subsystems are integrated into a working prototype; and system demonstration, where the overall system is demonstrated to operate in accordance with official requirements in its intended environment, with “reasonably available” capabilities to manufacture it.2 A decision on manufacturing the system in quantity will be made at the end of this phase, scheduled for 2006. The first production versions are due in 2006, and the Crusader is planned to enter service in 2008. Both UDLP and the Army program manager for Crusader (PM Crusader) at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, have set goals to use state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques for production of the Crusader artillery. To further these goals, the PM Crusader commissioned a study by the National Research Council to provide expert advice on the strategy, technology, and business plans for system development. This report was intended to be the first in a series of two or three reports on the development of manufacturing plans for the Crusader artillery. However, given the latest developments in the Crusader program, this will be the only chance the committee has to address this topic. The report deals with state-of-the-art and emerging manufacturing systems, especially for 1   At the time the committee met and wrote this report, the Crusader program was ongoing. In May 2002, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld canceled the Crusader program. However, in order for work on this program to be stopped, Congress must agree to the termination of the funding in the FY 2003 budget. Until that occurs, work on the Crusader project continues at UDLP. 2   Scott Knudsen, U.S. Army Program Manager, Crusader, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., presentation to the committee on April 11, 2002.

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technology to manage the business information needed to produce the Crusader system. The statement of task appears in Sidebar 1.1. The National Research Council established the Committee on Evaluation of the Manufacturing Vision and Strategies for the Production of the Crusader Artillery System to undertake this study. The committee consists of six experts from academia, industry, and government with expertise in manufacturing and manufacturing systems. Brief biographies of the committee members appear in Appendix A. To address the statement of task, the committee met with representatives of the PM Crusader’s office and of the UDLP Crusader team at UDLP’s facility in Minneapolis (April 10 to 12, 2002). The committee heard briefings on the history, background, and capabilities of the Crusader system. It was also briefed on a broad range of simulation efforts, enterprise strategy, business strategy, and logistics and life cycle issues. The briefings were supplemented by tours of both the virtual integration3 and the systems integration facilities. The committee reviewed relevant background material, including government documents and materials, pertinent NRC reports, and other technical reports and literature published through April 2002. While the briefings provided to the committee were extensive, they were not comprehensive. This report is based only on the information the committee was provided by the sponsor and the contractor. Given the uniqueness of Crusader, the committee tended to avoid speculating on what might happen or what usually happens in such enterprises, because it felt doing so would not add value to this report. Because the statement of task was limited to manufacturing issues, the committee did not address either the design or the efficacy of the Crusader artillery system. While the committee recognizes that much of UDLP’s work lies ahead, it is the committee’s intent to offer advice to the Army on the development of UDLP’s manufacturing vision and strategies and potential emerging manufacturing systems and practices. In addressing the statement of task, the committee responded to each topic to the extent that it was given the information to do so. For this reason, some aspects of the statement of task, such as business development and technology, are not as thoroughly explored as the manufacturing vision. In addition, while this report is focused on Crusader, it may have some limited applicability to other large military programs. The committee suggests that if a more comprehensive view of manufacturing is desired, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Lean Aerospace Initiative4 or the Next Generation Manufacturing Report5 would be excellent starting points. Given the proprietary nature of much of UDLP’s work, it is the committee’s expectation that this report will be read mainly by the Army program office and UDLP employees, and it has been written for such an audience. Although manufacturing is a broad topic, the committee, in order to give the sponsor the most relevant and timely advice based on its observations in April, has chosen two areas of focus for this report: (1) engineering a manufacturing enterprise and (2) crosscutting issues. The committee had originally planned to address the specific aspects of the Totally Integrated Munitions Enterprise (TIME) strategy in a second report, but given the latest developments in the Crusader program, decided to address at least some aspects of that strategy in the report (Sidebar 1.2). 3   Virtual integration “involves an integrated, collaborative decision support network that unifies business partners to direct and control operational interchanges from acquisition of raw materials to delivery of finished product to the end user throughout a product’s life cycle.” More information can be found at the Rapid Response Methods’ Virtual Integration website, at <http://www.rrmllc.com/virtual_integration.htm>, accessed October 10, 2002. 4   See MIT’s Lean Aerospace Initiative, at <http://lean.mit.edu>, accessed May 20, 2002. 5   See Next Generation Manufacturing: A Framework for Action, at <http://lfmsdm.mit.edu/rkt/research/themes/rktgroup9/ngm.pdf>, accessed May 20, 2002.

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Sidebar 1.2 The Relationship of the Crusader Project to the Totally Integrated Munitions Enterprise (TIME) Program A key assumption of the TIME program is that rapid replenishment can be accomplished by transferring technologies and processes to commercial firms via electronic communications networks. Thus, it is envisioned that a virtual munitions enterprise can be rapidly formed and activated using advanced information and communication technologies.1 The concepts of TIME are consistent with the concepts elucidated in two earlier NRC studies: Visionary Manufacturing Challenges for 2020 (NRC, 1998) and Defense Manufacturing in 2010 and Beyond: Meeting the Changing Needs of National Defense (NRC, 1999). TIME is also consistent with Next Generation Manufacturing: A Framework for Action (NGM Project Office, 1997). While building the Crusader is certainly a more complex undertaking than the conventional munitions manufacturing that is the focus of the TIME program, the approach taken by UDLP is consistent with the key TIME assumption described in the extract. UDLP will assemble the first Crusaders in the Minneapolis plant. Then it will transfer the assembly function to the Elgin, Oklahoma, plant. That transfer process should be independent of location, so that it should be possible to expand Crusader assembly to include other locations (assuming there are suitable facilities) in a timely fashion. The real issue in transferring technologies and processes to other firms would be how well the fabrication processes performed by companies providing systems and parts to Crusader would transfer. In particular, if the suppliers did not themselves have certain requisite capabilities, it would be necessary to identify other companies that have those critical capabilities, such as titanium machining, armor fabrication, and cannon tube fabrication. These issues are beyond the scope of this report. 1   From NRC (2002).