TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- Ten clean air work stations in the Airborne Communications Instruments Branch here offer improved mission flexibility and electro static protection.

The stations, which replaced the aging Class 100K Clean Room in the branch, is used in the repair and testing of avionics components such as the ARU-12 Attitude Indicator (a horizontal position indicator), displacement gyroscope (indicate pitch and roll of an aircraft), directional gyroscope and gyro rotors.

"The components are used in helicopters such as the Black Hawk and Chinook," said Electronics Mechanic Rich Reese. "We repair them down to the circuit board level and test them in the new work stations. We repair gyro rotors in a room that is attached directly to the clean zone."

About nine technicians work at the stations, repairing and testing about 60 gyros and 10 ARUs per month. The branch is part of the Command, Control, Computer/Avionics Directorate's Avionics Division.

"The new stations have 3-stage filter systems at each of the 10 benches that filter air down to 100 particles per square inch; the systems can also blow particles away from where the work is being performed," said William Farrow, electronics mechanic leader. "Technicians now have access to air and nitrogen lines for cleaning and that can be adapted for component leak checks. Each bench is basically its own clean air room."

The stations are roomier than the old clean room and have updated electrical service, such as 400 hertz cycle and 210-volt outlets, which allow technicians to work with different types of components if necessary. The clear walls of the entire area can be moved to reconfigure the entire work area.

"We are able to expand the area, make it smaller, and add or remove walls to make it fit our needs," Reese said. "The ESD (electro static discharge) protection lessens the probability that we'll have a problem, although we did not have any problems with it before."

Farrow noted that the Class 100K Clean Room is in the process of being dismantled. "Once the room is removed, we'll turn the area into extra work space," he said.

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 5,100 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.