By Christopher Noak, Deputy Director of Maintenance Directorate, U.S. Army Materiel Support Command-KoreaNovember 12, 2019
In 2018 the U.S. Army Materiel Support Command-Korea, Directorate for Maintenance, fielded the Army's newest automated test equipment, the prototype model of the Next Generation Automated Test System (NGATS).
This state-of-the-art equipment is replacing the legacy Automated Test Set, which is used to diagnose ground combat systems such as the M1 Abrams tank and the M2/M3 Bradley fighting vehicle.
The NGATS system allows for enhanced diagnostic testing. Since fielding, MSC-K has successfully tested and repaired over 22 types of Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) on the M1 and M2/M3 equipment. Total repairs are more than 400 LRUs resulting in a cost avoidance of over $6.7 million. This capability has ensured the 2nd Infantry Division/Republic of Korea/US Combined Division's ability to Fight Tonight and helped maintain Eighth Army's combat readiness.
The MSC-K Communications and Electronic Division (CED) NGATS team consists of one Department of the Army civilian and six Korean technicians. Each team member is thoroughly trained and certified by the Program Management Office. Using this training, the NGATS team provides a faster, more thorough diagnosis, with the added benefit of reducing unit wait time.
To date, the MSC-K NGATS team has played a vital role in increasing the readiness ratings of three separate 2nd Infantry Division rotational Brigades. The continued use of their expertise will enable the 2nd Infantry Division to maintain high readiness ratings for their combat systems.
"We turned in over 100 LRU's in four months with a return rate over 95%, providing a total cost savings of nearly 4 million-dollars, which paved the way for success in our gunnery at the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, where we directly linked our 91+% operational readiness rate to MSC-K support," Chief Warrant Officer 3 Aaron Smith, Ordnance Maintenance Technician from 4-6 Infantry Battalion said.
His unit was a customer of MSC-K while the part of a 2 ID Rotational Brigade in South Korea.
"This also allowed for all of our crews to shoot and qualify on their own platforms, increase the ownership initiative we have in place in the unit, and most importantly, gives our commander the flexibility needed to train and ensure his crews are proficient on equipment which could be needed in conflict." Smith added.
Currently, MSC-K is scheduled to be fielded the full-rate production model of the NGATS in the 2nd quarter of the fiscal year 2020. MSC-K will continue its modernization efforts in support of Army units in the Korean Theater of Operations, enhancing the combat capabilities and readiness for Eighth U.S. Army in Korea.