The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center's (TARDEC) National Automotive Center (NAC) today announced that the Army's new Mobile Parts Hospital (MPH), a mini- manufacturing center, is operational and producing vehicle replacement parts at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, in support of American forces in Iraq. The announcement was made at the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Conference in Washington, D.C. "Currently, repairing vehicles in theater is both time-consuming and costly. When a vehicle breaks down, it usually has to be transported back to the base and it can remain idle for weeks waiting for replacement parts," said Dennis J. Wend, executive director, NAC. "It is important that we continue to provide the parts needed in a timely manner to sustain our troops. The MPH's advanced manufacturing module was engineered with our industry partners with that challenge in mind. This unit is now operational in Kuwait manufacturing critically needed parts for our soldiers." This innovative MPH is a self-contained, self-sustaining unit that houses the latest manufacturing equipment to produce replacement parts. The 27,000- pound mobile module is capable of making more than 150 different parts. Specifications for parts are maintained in a database, and laser scanners can quickly generate specifications for additional pieces in the field. The MPH is also equipped with reverse engineering and simulation hardware and software to reverse engineer individual parts. "Deploying the Mobile Parts Hospital with its advanced manufacturing capability to the front lines in Kuwait is evidence of how fast we are moving to develop and field future technologies as we continue to transform America's Army," said Gen. Paul J. Kern, commanding general for the Army Materiel Command. "The success of this project underscores the importance of the National Automotive Center's technology outreach to industry where we are working in a collaborative environment on future products and systems for both soldiers and the American public." Today marks the first real world deployment for one of the two prototype MPH modules under development by the NAC, prime contractor Alion Science and Technology, and partners Focus: HOPE of Detroit, Mich. and CAMP of Cleveland, Ohio. The National Automotive Center, an activity of the Army's Research, Development and Engineering Command, is the Army's official link to working with commercial industry and academia partners to create new vehicles that will give the Army the mobility, survivability and agility it needs to operate efficiently and effectively in today's new threat environment. For the military, the NAC's partnership approach makes it possible to improve vehicle performance, safety and endurance while reducing design, manufacturing, operations and maintenance costs. For commercial partners, the application of jointly developed technologies has similar impacts ... safer cars and trucks, more advanced technology available to the consumer and lower cost because of the broader market base. For additional information on Mobile Parts Hospital please see www.mobilepartshospital.com