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Supporting the Detroit Arsenal: Supply Chain with Manufacturers like BAE Systems Delivers High-Tech Equipment to Army

At the center of Michigan’s defense innovation is a complex supply chain developed across more than a century of innovation. It supports the Detroit Arsenal, the only active-duty U.S. military installation in Michigan, which serves 250 military and more than 7,500 Department of Defense civilian and contract workers.

The Detroit Arsenal manages the U.S. Army’s ground equipment supply chain, which accounts for 60% of the Army’s total equipment.

“Our Army would not be able to execute its missions without the work that goes on at Detroit Arsenal – whether it’s providing the supply of repair parts or defining how to repair equipment that may have a safety issue,” said Maj. Gen. Darren L. Werner, TACOM’s commanding general.

In today’s military, overseeing that supply chain includes pursuing next-generation autonomous vehicle technology including artificial intelligence, robotics, and hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cells that extend range and battlefield capabilities and keep more personnel out of harm’s way.

It also requires leaning on manufacturers such as BAE Systems, which employs 650 people across two sites in Michigan. BAE Systems then, in turn, relies on more than 100 suppliers for over 3,000 parts as it designs, manufactures, and improves ground combat vehicles for the Army.

In August of 2020, the company delivered the Army prototypes of a five-vehicle family of Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles (AMPV) and has begun low-rate production to replace Vietnam-era vehicles and serve a range of uses in the battlefield from medical evacuation to mission command while delivering cutting-edge survivability.

As part of its 230,000-square-foot campus in Sterling Heights, BAE Systems has its Mobility and Electrical Technology Lab (METL), a 0.4-mile test track and prototype facility, which opened up in 2018.

The campus reflects the intersection of mobility, automotive, and defense industry technology. Many prototypes of combat vehicles, such as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, are being converted to hybrid or next-generation technology as manufacturers look for ways to retain firepower while making the vehicles lighter and more fuel-efficient.

Prototypes allow ‘what-ifs’ to test new vehicle technology, according to Bill Sheehy, the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) program director at BAE Systems.

On-site, engineers at BAE Systems test the latest powertrains, electronics, fuel cells, and batteries under conditions ranging from arctic to desert temperatures and implement the lessons from the battlefield into the latest ground vehicles to eliminate casualties and reduce the number of soldiers in harm’s way.

“It’s all about packing more power into the vehicle,” Sheehy said, noting how fully connected vehicle technology in the AMPV is changing the battlefield through improved communications and network connectivity with mission command – innovation that is developed and tested in the Detroit Region, which saves lives where ever the Army is in combat.


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