Tobyhanna's radar test capability crosses seas, Australian forces train and reset
September 13, 2013
Australia now benefits from a unique radar test capability at Tobyhanna Army Depot. Eight Australian Defence Force, ADF, communications-electronics technicians spent two weeks here to learn repair and maintenance of a radar system used to track enemy mortar rounds.
AN/TPQ--49 Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar, LCMR, systems sense enemy fire and warn the force so they can respond. Personnel here test and repair LCMRs using a first-of-its-kind mechanical live-fire test simulator. The test simulator is the only one in the Army.
The Australian Army is using the system operationally. "The trained operators have been using the LCMRs for more than two years, and have an evolved understanding of its performance and functionality," said ADF member Sam Banks. "We've been getting good results with it [in] theater. It has good reliability; it's highly maneuverable and highly maintainable."
As part of the ADF's training regime, trade qualified maintainers with specific skill sets in radars, were selected to attend a U.S.-based instructor-led maintenance course.
"The PM (Product Manager) Radars (Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.) contacted Tobyhanna and asked if we could conduct the training," explained Dean Georgiades, an electronics technician in the Production Engineering Directorate. "This is not the first class we have had, but it is the first for training foreign military customers."
Georgiades and two depot technicians, Mark Dolph and Eric Allison, developed a training plan and conducted the training.
"Tobyhanna's extensive experience and capability in Counter Fire Radar sustainment is evident in the highly effective training we provided for our Australian allies," said Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Directorate Director, Bob Katulka. "Tobyhanna engineers and technicians routinely demonstrate exceptional support to our Warfighters, the latest training for our allies being a prime example."
Georgiades noted that because the soldiers already had electronics training, they quickly grasped the maintenance and operational theory portion of the training. Coupled with the hands-on training, he said the Australians will have no problem maintaining their fleet of LCMRs.
"It's good to know that we can get help here," said Radar Tech Advisor Chris Olsson of Australia's Combat Support System Project Office. "We have that established link, but coming here gives better rapport; coupled with an in depth knowledge of how the maintenance facility at Tobyhanna works. Certainly the opportunity to have that face-to-face interaction is invaluable."