LOCKHEED MARTIN'S 10,000TH WIND CORRECTED MUNITIONS DISPENSER TAIL KIT ROLLS OFF ASSEMBLY LINE
ORLANDO, FL, 27-FEB-03 --
Lockheed Martin recently produced its 10,000th Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD) tail kit three months ahead of schedule at its assembly facility in Americus, Ga.. All WCMD production lots have been delivered ahead of schedule.
The WCMD has consistently been delivered to the Air Force ahead of schedule and on cost, said Col. James Knox, Director of Area Attack Systems at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. This 10,000th unit is symbolic of the commitment that the Air Force-Lockheed Martin team has made throughout the life of the program.
Lockheed Martin's WCMD is a low cost tail kit that converts existing cluster munitions into all-weather precision-guided weapons. The system increases weapon lethality and reduces collateral damage by correcting for launch transients, ballistic errors, and winds aloft. The WCMD provides strike aircraft with an accurate individual weapon targeting capability or an accurate pattern lay-down capability for cluster munitions from any operational altitude or weather condition. The tail kit operates with CBU-87, -89, and 97 munitions.
The U.S. Air Force plans to buy over 30,000 WCMD units. Over 17,200 units have been procured so far with a contract value to date of $343 million.
The Air Force accurately dispensed combined-effects munitions against targets during Operation Enduring Freedom. With a reliability that exceeds contract requirements, the system has been one of the campaign's most dependable and accurate systems. WCMD's high altitude, all-weather capability enables aircrews to drop the weapon with minimal exposure to enemy air defenses.
We used WCMD effectively in Operation Enduring Freedom, said Gen. Donald Hoffman, Director of Requirements, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va.. The system proved to be extremely effective and accurate. We employed the system with our B-52s and the combination of the system's accuracy with the large numbers of weapons carried by each bomber allowed us to protect our troops on the ground. WCMD transformed the B-52 from a cold war era platform designed to carry nuclear weapons into a close air support aircraft.
The WCMD system is operational on B-52, F-16, and F-15 aircraft. Certification on the B-1 bomber is expected during 2003. In the future, WCMD is planned to be integrated on the A-10 Thunderbolt close support aircraft, the F-117 stealth fighter, and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The Lockheed Martin's low-cost final assembly facility in Georgia produces a tail kit every 15 minutes. The assembly is set up to flow through 10 assembly stations and one common pack and unpack area. The kits are transported through the assembly line on secured individual carts that are circulated throughout the assembly process. The total effort is accomplished in a 2,200 square foot area.
We have made our process extremely lean, said Ron Pomeroy, WCMD program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. Employees are divided into two groups - assembly and test. We cross train our workforce into these areas and we are building over 600 tail kits per month with one shift operation, said Pomeroy. We could potentially double our production rate by simply adding another shift as opposed to adding new facilities or equipment.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control develops, manufactures and integrates world-class air defense, fire support, strike weapon, naval munition, combat vision, anti-armor and advanced product solutions and systems for U.S. and international armed forces.