By Mr. Anthony Ricchiazzi (CECOM)July 25, 2014
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- Technicians here have successfully completed operational testing for the Defense Department AIMS platform certification on the AN/TPS-63B Radar System. AIMS stands for Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System/Identification Friend or Foe/ Mark XII-XIIA System.
This testing involved the verification of interoperability between the AN/UPX-37 interrogator system, and the radar. In addition, the testing will also validate an engineering change proposal developed by Tobyhanna to increase reliability and decrease obsolescence.
The TPS-63B radars are used by the Marines for aircraft surveillance. Tobyhanna personnel have repaired and tested these since receiving the workload in 2011.
"This is a special, one time requirement directed by the Marine Corps, Program Office" said Greg Lee, principal field service engineer. "We're certifying that the radar system is compatible with the UPX-37."
Lee works in the Surveillance Systems Division, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Directorate.
"The Marines chose Tobyhanna for this based on our extensive radar expertise, state of the art facilities and logistics support capabilities," said John Borosky, chief of the Tactical Air Defense Systems Branch. "The successful completion of this test event will provide certification of the Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) subsystem of the interrogator for use with the AN/TPS-63 in accordance with AIMS Standards."
"Tobyhanna showed a strong willingness to support the effort," said Kenneth Van Zandt, Team Lead, Long Range Radar, Marine Corps System Command. "Equally important, we had a high confidence that the radar and IFF Suite would operate reliably and correctly. And, if it suffered a failure, Tobyhanna personnel could execute the repair quickly (technically proficient). In short, we assessed Tobyhanna to be a very low risk - the equipment and personnel would be prepared to execute the test plan."
Tobyhanna conducted the test in conjunction with the Marine Corps Systems Command, General Dynamics Information Technology and the AIMS Program Office.
"The Marine Corps contracted two jets through Flights International, and coordinated through the FAA New York Center and Cleveland Center for flight clearance." said Shawn Kuntz, electronic integrated systems mechanic. "The jets flew up from Newport News (VA) and performed various flight patterns at numerous ranges and altitudes from Tobyhanna. The tests were performed on weekends from midnight to 8 a.m. to minimize impact on local and regional air traffic. Tobyhanna is actually a busy air traffic corridor."
"I believe the greatest challenge was working though the scheduling because of the multiple agencies involved," Van Zandt said.
He explained that the radar is normally configured as a test bed within the service bay and it was moved and fully assembled to support this test.
"One of our goals was not to disrupt Tobyhanna's normal operations," he said. "It was difficult to make the call on when to move it because of all the churn over dates and varying test requirements. Tobyhanna leadership has shown exceptional flexibility in this regard."
The aircraft contained specialized sensors and data recording equipment for collecting the necessary data to verify the IFF (AN/UPX-37) performance as part of the TPS-63B radar.
Once the testing and flight data is verified with the AIMS program office, the TPS-63B radar will have a valid platform certification for use with the UPX-37 interrogator.
"The AIMS Platform Certification test is very important to the Corps," Van Zandt said. "The TPS-63 program must pass the air test phase of AIMS Program Office's assessment to maintain its ability to operate. As I mentioned, Tobyhanna was chosen because we believed it offered the best opportunity for success; that is a reflection of our confidence in Tobyhanna's abilities."
Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna's Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C4ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.
Tobyhanna's unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, technology insertion, modification, and global field support to warfighters.
About 3,300 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.