What does Letterkenny Army Depot actually do?

Letterkenny Army Depot.jpg

The Patriot missile launcher is displayed at the entrance of Letterkenny Army Depot. (Public Opinion file)

(Chambersburg) —  Workers at Letterkenny Army Depot can rebuild combat-damaged mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles or test missile system radars or dispose of aging ammunition.

Building 350, the 320,000-square-foot vehicle shop – and the site of a fire and explosion that left four workers injured on Thursday – is the largest building on the depot. Located in the industrial area, the building is far removed from the munitions area where ammunition and small missiles are stored. The depot, including the Letterkenny Munitions Center, covers about 18,000 acres.

Crews have supported U.S. military operations across the world throughout Letterkenny’s 75-year history.

Letterkenny manufactures, refurbishes, maintains and stores components for the military’s tactical missile air defense systems. The Patriot anti-missile system is the best known. Four of the installation’s 10 Shingo medallions have been for Patriot work. The Shingo Award is considered the Nobel Prize for manufacturing.

Letterkenny also produces ground-mobility-vehicle versions of the Humvee, MRAP route-clearance vehicles, power generators, tent cities, material-handling equipment, Sentinel 3-D radars and a variety of other missile systems — TOW (tube-launched optically tracked wire-grounded anti-tank missile), Javelin, Avenger, HIMARS (high-mobility artillery rocket system).

Letterkenny, with about 3,600 workers, is the second largest employer in Franklin County, behind Summit Health. The depot’s payroll and contracts are worth more than $250 million annually to the region.

The depot originally opened in Franklin County as the Letterkenny Ordinance Depot in the spring of 1942. The government took 20,400 acres of farmland in Greene and Letterkenny townships and displaced about 250 families. The depot’s first missions during World War II were to supply the troops and stockpile munitions.

Later, depot crews took on tank and vehicle maintenance and eventually turned to small tactical missiles.

Letterkenny currently supports the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, and the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command.



This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The Chambersburg Public Opinion.

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