BLUF: Basic cold-weather preventive maintenance will keep your M777A2 howitzer combat ready.
Crewmen, cold temps can make it tough to keep your M777A2 howitzer in firing shape. But following these tips for general winter maintenance will go a long way toward keeping your M777A2 combat ready, no matter how much the mercury drops.
- Store nitrogen bottles and hydraulic fluid outside at the same temperature as the howitzer. This will prevent false readings during charging and maintenance.
- Use nitrogen with little to no moisture content. That will prevent condensation within the nitrogen system that can then freeze, blocking lines and valves as well as causing corrosion.
- Generally, less lubrication is needed when operating in extreme cold.
- Cover the breech, primer feed mechanism (PFM) and sight mounts during transport to protect these components from the elements.
- Exercise the mechanical elevation and traverse drives on your howitzer regularly to ensure weapon systems function properly.
- Replace all oils and lubricants before cold weather hits. Check out the Quarterly and Annual Lubrication instructions and the Expendable and Durable Items List for the correct NSNs in IETM 9-1025-215-23&P (Sep 16). Also, for hydraulic fluid, use (OHT), MIL-PRF-6083; for grease, use Grease, Aircraft Instrument (GAI), MIL-PRF-32014; for Brake Fluid (DOT 5), use MIL-PRF-46176. For lubrication in temps below freezing, use Lubricant All Weather (LAW) MIL-PRF-14107 in place of Cleaner Lubricant Protectant (CLP).
- Don’t let snow and ice accumulate on the upper surfaces of your howitzer. Snow and ice can prevent the cannon from fully returning to battery. That will activate the Out of Battery Interlock valve and shut down the hydraulic system.
- Prevent swab water from freezing by adding commercial antifreeze to the water.
For more information, check out WP 1353, Winterization for M777/M777A2,
of IETM 9-1025-215-23&P (Sep 16).