By Ms. Jacqueline Boucher (U.S. Army CommunicationsElectronics Command (CECOM))September 30, 2019
TOBYHANNA, Pa. -- A few years ago the Marine Corps turned to the Army's Team Tobyhanna when it's highly mobile multi-mission radar system needed modifying.
Dozens of Tobyhanna Army Depot employees are changing the way two of the AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar's (G/ATOR) three subsystems -- CEG (Communications Equipment Group) and PEG (Power Equipment Group) -- look and function. The system's third component -- REG (Radar Equipment Group) -- integration and testing workload is scheduled to transition here by 2020.
"The team developed new design concepts for a Humvee-mounted shelter system for the CEG and the PEG pallet," said Mark Capitano, logistics management specialist, Production Management Directorate's ISR Program Management Division. "In addition, personnel are fabricating, integrating and testing the two assets."
Full-rate production on the CEG shelter started this summer with employees performing preproduction work for incoming systems. To date, Team Tobyhanna has fielded 11 shelters as part of the low rate initial production (LRIP) process, with two more in the final phases of production.
"The Marines now have an environmentally controlled place to work while in the field," said Dave Godusky, mechanical engineer, Production Engineering Directorate's Design, Development and Fabrication Engineering Division. "We're building all the component parts, the power entrance, power distribution, and signal entry boxes for the system."
The new build PEG pallet is still in LRIP while the customer adjusts the design to meet the needs of the warfighter. The majority of the PEG is raw stock metal, welded and then painted.
The G/ATOR is a next-generation radar that provides air surveillance/air defense, counter-fire target acquisition, and air traffic control capabilities. It is the first ground-based, multi-role radar to be developed for the Department of Defense. In all, the program will field 45 G/ATOR systems Marine Corps-wide.
The one-of-a-kind radar replaces five legacy systems (two of which have been retired) with a single solution. Tobyhanna's CEG redesign work began in 2015 and the PEG system came online in 2017. Future plans include integrating the three subsystems when the radar group arrives on site. The radar program is administered by the Marine Corps Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar program office within Program Executive Officer Land Systems.
Tobyhanna has been repairing and testing radars since the 1960s. There are hundreds of employees dedicated to radar systems support, including dozens of engineering personnel committed to continuously improving the depot's radar repair processes and developing capabilities to take on new and emerging technologies.
"It's rewarding to see how far we've come with this project. Lots of lessons learned," said Dave Nichols, customer representative, who noted that several Marines visited the depot to review the upgrades and provide feedback. "A competitive search of the organic industrial base proved Tobyhanna offered the best value for this workload."
Engineers and electronics mechanics work with mechanical technicians, quality control and supply chain management personnel to ensure radar systems are in warfighter hands as quickly as possible.
Technicians in the Systems Integration and Support (SIS) Directorate's Electronics Shelter System Branch are making modifications to and installing components on the shelter, according to Donald Vozzi, branch chief. All the components found in the original mobile pallet design will be placed in the shelter.
"Depot welders are playing a large part in the success of the pallet build," Mark Landmesser, logistics management specialist and project manager for the PEG effort, said of the team effort. His responsibilities include tracking funding, ordering parts, monitoring the schedule and working with the customer. "Plus, all the parts we make go through other SIS shops."
Employees from the Electro-Mechanical Fabrication Branch are charged with the electrical install and functional tests. In addition to all the wiring, they install power entrance panels, radio equipment, monitors and power distribution boxes.
To the untrained eye, the old and new PEG pallets look the same, according to Therese Paxton, production controller for the project. Depot employees are working on a handful of pallets at various stages of production.
"We are adapting the design to meet customer requirements," she said. "For instance, space on the pallet has been reconfigured for efficiency when storing fuel cans, the generator and other necessary equipment used to power the radar."
The G/ATOR is lightweight, rugged and can be towed by a medium tactical vehicle. Officials say its life cycle will be 30 years or more. The baseline system configuration consists of three subsystems. The CEG provides the ability to communicate with and control the radar and is mounted on a Humvee. The PEG includes a 60-kilowatt generator and associated power cables mounted on a pallet. The generator pallet is carried by the medium tactical vehicle replacement (MTVR). The REG consists of the phased-array radar mounted on an integrated trailer. The trailer is towed by the tactical vehicle.