FORT HOOD, TX-- The 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team , 1st Cavalry Division, “Black Jack”, officially becomes the first in the Army to receive the Next Generation Automatic Test System or NGATS, during a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony on Fort Hood, Texas, Nov. 17, 2020.
For nearly a month, Troopers with Bravo Company, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, have undergone extensive training and testing presented by the NGATS fielding team out of RedStone Arsenal, Alabama. The Troopers have successfully met all qualifications to operate the new equipment which will replace the testing systems of the past and enhance the brigade’s current capabilities by isolating and diagnosing maintenance issues in some of its engineer equipment and in the Abrams and Bradley weapon’s systems.
The NGATS will move the Division into the future by allowing leaders and Soldiers to accomplish priorities on a modern battlefield.
“NGATS gives the Brigade the capability to "fix forward" which is essential for maintaining the momentum in Large Scale Ground Combat Operations. The NGATS gets combat systems back into the fight faster due to the improved diagnostics and testing capability,” said LT. Col. Delarius V. Tarlton, Battalion Commander for 15th BSB. “Line Replaceable Units can be diagnosed and repaired at the field level which eliminates the need to take the system offline or drag an Abrams Tank or Bradley back to the Brigade Support Area to test LRUs.”
The NGATS is a reconfigurable, general-purpose, mobile, deployable, automatic testing system designed to provide sustainment support to all Army weapon systems. This flexible testing platform will standardize and reduce the quantity of the Army's Automatic Test Equipment systems to one modern tester and improve weapon system availability.
“This piece of equipment actually takes the place of three antiquated ATEs,” said Donnie Barksdale, the primary instructor for the NGATS Operation Course; “the old IFTE system, which is Integrated Family of Test Equipment, Electro-Optics Test Facility V5 and Direct Support Electrical Systems Test Set. It’s a more modern version. It has many of the same instruments in a different package, and it works faster.”
The NGATS configuration consists of two heavy expanded-mobility tactical trucks, two 20-foot shelters, one 60-kilowatt generator, ATE, and multiple test program sets making the system more versatile and convent than its predecessors, enabling operators to complete tasks more efficiently and to focus on the mission.
“The NGTS makes our job easier because with the old system there was lots of packing and unpacking,” said SPC. Ayisha Gant, an Automatic Test Systems Operator and Maintainer with 15th BSB. “With this new system, there’s a shelter to store things and a shelter we work out of. Along with that there are fewer components, cables, and things we need to do to get our job done. It makes things much faster.”
The arrival of the NGATS coupled with the arrival of the new M1A2 SEP V3 Abrams to 2nd Brigade makes Black Jack the most modern and lethal unit in the Army.