Laibe Corp. is assisting in that effort, with its latest undertaking being a complete drilling package for the U.S. Army in Africa. 

Few things are more important than providing the men and women of our armed forces with the equipment and materials they need to perform at peak levels – and not just on the front lines. Laibe Corp. is assisting in that effort, with its latest undertaking being a complete drilling package for the U.S. Army in Africa.

The package consists of a Versa-Drill V-2000 drilling rig, a matching water truck manufactured by Rosewall Mfg. Inc., a portable air compressor made by Ingersoll-Rand, and a Mud Puppy system manufactured by Tibban Manufacturing Inc. Customized for the Army, the package is built for worldwide capability. It can drill with air, mud or a combination thereof. It is designed for MIL-SPEC, which addresses transport considerations and allows the system to be run using existing military equipment and technologies.

There are several of these packages already in Afghanistan. This latest one is headed to the Republic of Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. The army uses the equipment, materials and expertise to do humanitarian work across the globe. The rig’s first job, however, is to drill support wells for the Army bases. Then crews go out and drill wells for local communities near where they’re stationed. The Djibouti-based system will provide water wells in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan. The U.S. government funds these projects in an effort to provide a positive influence in these impoverished regions.

Back in 2006, the Army issued an operational needs statement (ONS), which means it has to have something in the field very quickly. Laibe received a blind phone call that led to its first sale of this type. The Army was impressed with the package’s performance and capabilities, and in 2009, it went back to Laibe, and ordered three more systems that were air-freighted to work in Afghanistan.

Those three packages, along with the latest one Djibouti-bound, were piggy-backed onto the original ONS purchase agreement, which expedited the whole process – no small matter when trying to deal with the red tape-cluttered labyrinth that is the U.S. Military. Laibe now enjoys sole-source status on an Army Program of Record, streamlining the procedures for both Laibe and the Army. So if the Army (or any other U.S. government entity, for that matter) needs anything water well-related, it goes straight to Laibe, and the headaches and paperwork now are minimized (a relative term; it’s still the government we’re talking about).

Typically, it takes Laibe Corp. about five weeks to put together the entire package, which includes much more than just the aforementioned equipment. Everything needed to drill and complete the wells also is included – five wells’ worth. Laibe also provides a staff member to accompany the system, and that person trains Army drilling personnel for one year, with options for two additional one-year stints (the options usually are picked up by the Army).

Looking ahead, Laibe expects to have six to 10 more of these complete packages to put together for the Army over the next two years to four years. Here’s hoping they are for peace-time, humanitarian-only projects.