Missile defense system readiness relies on FSR expertise
June 13, 2013
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- Tobyhanna Army Depot technicians are supporting the deployment of a key missile defense system in the western Pacific.
Field Service Representatives (FSRs) are providing technical expertise to maintain readiness of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) for the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade in Guam.
They are supporting the operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, during the forward deployments of the unit under public-private partnership agreement with Lockheed Martin.
THAAD is designed to destroy enemy theater-class ballistic missiles at high altitudes. The system includes five major components: launchers, interceptors, a radar system, THAAD Fire Control and Communications (TFCC) units, and THAAD-specific support equipment.
"Tobyhanna FSRs are supporting multiple components of the system, including support equipment such as DRASH (Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter)," said Systems Branch Chief Alan Knotts, West Region, Fort Hood Forward Repair Activity, Texas. "The mission began in April."
Tobyhanna FSRs provide equipment support that includes troubleshooting/repair and system software and state-of-the-art electronics technical and maintenance support for numerous systems worldwide. FSRs also fabricate needed test fixtures, record test data and recommend system or circuit modifications in coordination with engineering personnel.
They also mentor and assist military personnel in field-level troubleshooting and repair of components, and provide technical advice to commanders and maintenance officers on maintainability of the system.
"The FSRs have on-site authority for decisions such as performing depot maintenance, substituting equipment, repair parts and components, determining what equipment, replacements units or subassemblies should be evacuated to the depot for repair and if software program changes are required," noted Alex Meno, Command Post System and Integration Technical Support Branch manager.
Depot FSRs are also at Fort Bliss, Texas, providing similar support to two THAAD Air Defense Units.
Knott and Meno said the work is being performed with no problems to date. The challenges have been mainly logistics issues associated with the initial deployment of this magnitude.
"We have to react extremely fast in order to get these FSRs prepared to deploy because notification is not usually given until the last minute." Meno said. "To compensate for this, we are seeking to have FSRs get regular training, intelligence briefings and medical evaluations so they will be prepared to move quickly to whenever and wherever support is needed."
Knott said they anticipate the mission to be completed by October.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department's largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.
About 4,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.