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MARCORSYSCOM builds new air defense system with off-the-shelf parts

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 200551292439
Story by Sgt. Salju Thomas

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO Va. (May 12,2005) -- Despite an ever-tightening budget, Marine Corps Systems Command is updating the Man-Portable Air Defense System by repackaging technologies already in our supply pipeline.

The MANPADS is a HMMWV-based weapons platform that contains air and ground defense capabilities.

Not only does the update save money, it also saves time while still satisfying the operational needs of low altitude air defense units. The $13 million project, which began in September, had a prototype evaluated in February, and the configuration finalized in March.

The Marine Corps will get 188 Advanced MANPADS at a rate of about 10 per month, said Master Sgt. Timothy J. King, A-MANPADS integrated product team lead at MARCORSYSCOM.

“It is vital that we provide the war fighter with the tools he needs and A-MANPADS is a great example of doing just that,” said King.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wings will each receive 60 A-MANPADS packages. Six will go the Stinger Gunner School at Fort Bliss, Texas, and the final two will remain at Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Ind., who developed the system and will continue to improve it.

The new system will replace the Avenger and currently fielded MANPADS rack vehicles. It will continue to use the Stinger missile and the previous communications and command and control systems. The A-MANPADS will utilize a M-240B machine gun and the Marine Armor Kit for protection.

“We have put it all together in a package that will be much more sustainable than current systems being used,” said King. “This is a ready, available and capable combat power that can be effectively task organized to support the Marine Air Ground Task Force’s mission.”

A few A-MANPADS packages will be delivered next month to 3rd LAAD Battalion, 3rd MAW, for user evaluation and refinement of tactics, techniques, and procedures.

“A-MANPADS can provide the rapid and lethal, close-in force protection capability for air bases and forward arming and refueling points against unmanned aerial vehicle threats, light aircraft, helos, and light ground threats,” said King. “The old systems are not supportable or affordable and are going away.

The plan really follows the commandant’s direction to make acquisitions so that no resources are consumed by activities that do not add value to the Corps.”

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