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NEWS | Aug. 2, 2018

Letterkenny Army Depot completes 72nd Avenger in support of deterrence mission in Europe

By Nora Zubia

In support of one of the Army Chief of Staff’s priority initiatives, Letterkenny Army Depot, a subordinate unit of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, recently completed the overhaul of 72 Avenger systems. 

Air and Missile Defense capabilities that ensure our Soldiers are protected from modern and advanced air and missile delivered fires including drones, is one of six modernization priorities laid out by the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, last fall. 

The 72 Avengers will be used as part of the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), a series of defense initiatives that enhance the United States’ deterrence posture and improves the readiness and responsiveness of U.S. forces in Europe.

“This capability gives combat units the ability to maneuver, even when facing threats from close air attacks,” said the Commander of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Maj. Gen. Doug Gabram. “That’s a key component of what we need to fight and win.” 

The AN/TWQ-1 Avenger is a fully automated, short-range air defense system. It is mounted on a M1097A1 HMMWV chassis, making it highly mobile and easily transportable. The surface-to-air missile fire unit has eight Stinger missiles in two missile pods. The system is capable of acquiring, identifying, tracking and engaging targets from a stationary or moving position.

With national security interests to protect maneuver forces increasing, Letterkenny was selected to overhaul and recapitalize 72 Avengers, a full complement for two battalions. 

In order to build 72 operational Avenger systems to support the European Command mission requirements, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command inspected and overhauled legacy Avenger systems that were stored in Pennsylvania and had been awaiting disposal.

Starting in March 2017, Letterkenny’s workforce carried out the “overhaul” process of rebuilding or replacing all of the major components on the Avenger system. The entire process took more than 110,000 man hours with the work taking place across 21 of the depot’s work centers.

The Letterkenny team disassembled the majority of the Avenger system by removing the turret assembly from the truck, then separating the cab from the chassis. Each turret was further disassembled; cables, line replacement units and chassis each sent to separate buildings where the parts were either rebuilt or replaced. All sub-components were torn down, inspected, re-assembled and tested to ensure 100 percent compliance with original equipment manufacturer specifications.    

After each system was reassembled and received a fresh coat of paint, the depot staff put the system through final testing before being processed for shipping. The Letterkenny team completed the Avenger overhaul mission on schedule and millions under budget. Their efforts generated a significant savings while simultaneously providing recovered assets for the program.

The Avengers will be shipped to Germany, where one battalion set will be activated and the other battalion set will be placed in prepositioned storage.