By Mr. Edwin J Mickley (CECOM)December 4, 2015
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. (Dec. 4, 2015) -- Cutting-edge weapon systems are being installed on the Navy's latest generation patrol boats and Tobyhanna Army Depot is providing the expertise.
The joint effort between the depot and the U.S. Navy's Special Warfare Command, or NWSC, led to the MK50 Gun Weapon System, or GWS, installation aboard the Navy's brand new Mk VI patrol boat at the SAFE Boats International manufacturing facility in Tacoma, Washington.
In what looks more like a video game than a weapon, the MK 50 is a shipboard version of the combat proven M153 Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, or CROWS, from Kongsberg Protech Systems out of Norway. Versatile and modular, it includes a daylight video camera with digital video processing capabilities, a thermal imager for night operations, and a laser rangefinder all tied to a remote operator's station below deck.
The brand new MK VI is an 85-foot combatant craft optimized for performance, fuel economy and firepower providing increased self defense to counter asymmetric threats, at sea or in harbor - occurring while the boat's crew remains safe and protected from hostile fire. They are expected to start regular deployments in early 2016.
The collaborative effort, spearheaded by the NSWC, Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, and Picatinny Arsenal's product manager for crew-served weapons enlisted the depot team to integrate the MK50 GWS on the patrol boats at the Tacoma, Washington, facility.
Tobyhanna's extensive experience with sustaining the Mk 153 CROWS was a key factor for the ARDEC decision. "Tobyhanna's workforce and electronics expertise with the 153 made the choice easy," said Navy Lt. John Taylor, Mk 50 program manager.
Since 2006, the depot has maintained or serviced more than 11,000 MK 153 CROWS systems. Once the initial plan was set into motion, Vincent Zuranski, of Tobyhanna's Readiness Training Division, met with a Raymond Duenas, Tobyhanna field service representative on Joint Base Lewis-McCord in Tacoma, and Kevin Quichocho, field service technician, from SAFE Boats International (the contractor for the MKVI PB) to lay the groundwork, perform the install and document the integration.
"The integration was pretty straight forward," Zuranski said. "Logistics for parts, determining the right tool set and mounting a switch in the close-quartered engine space were the only challenges."
"SAFE Boat personnel were invaluable in this process," Zuransky said. "Guy Cashman, logistics coordinator, and Kevin were instrumental in securing the right tools and equipment for installing the weapon."
Meeting recently with the depot, NWS and PA, modifications to ease the integration were discussed and will be implemented on the next install. Zuransky and the integration team briefed the two week effort prior to finalizing an integration guide detailing the step-by-step process for the two systems; one fore, one aft.
"The installation of the two systems on the first boat is just the beginning," said Taylor. "We have another install upcoming for two boats during November. After that there is the potential for more work through the coming year."
The effort is the latest iteration of the depot's joint command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) reach across all branches amid growing commitment from Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. The depot has positioned itself as the joint provider of choice, today and for the future, through upgrades in infrastructure, technology, capacity and training.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for 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 logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our Joint Warfighters.
About 3,100 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, Maryland, 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.