REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – Tough problems require teamwork.
When the CH-47 Chinook D model was upgraded to F, the installation of the Compact On-loading Off-loading System flooring eliminated the cable routing for the Telemetry Engagement Simulation System antenna. Part of a kit installed temporarily for Combat Aviation Training, the TESS antenna provides GPS capability for war games that help prepare Soldiers for battle.
It was a readiness challenge U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center engineers knew they had to help solve. The Project Management Office for Cargo Helicopters contacted DEVCOM AvMC to support the effort to identify a new location for the antenna, design the mount, and relocate the Smart Onboard Interface Module.
“With no route for the antenna cable, a new antenna mount had to be designed as well. The new location had to allow installation and removal without modifying the aircraft in any way,” said Rob Peter, Cargo team lead, AvMC Systems Readiness Directorate. “I implored the engineers on the team, ‘You can make a hole.’ This was a significant challenge.”
The effort included the development of all associate drawings and technical data that would be delivered with 27 kits containing the redesign parts, and required collaboration between the AvMC Systems Readiness Directorate; PM Cargo Publications, PM Cargo Helicopters Training Aids, Devices, Simulators and Simulations; the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation; Washington Headquarters Services National Center for Manufacturing Sciences Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities; and Elevate Systems, LLC.
“No one entity in DEVCOM can do it all,” Peter said. “The SRD Maintenance Airworthiness Division ran the point bringing together the necessary engineering services and prototyping capability through the WHS NCMS contact with Elevate Systems. This expedited contact vehicle was instrumental in staying on schedule. Collaboration with Cargo PM TESS and PEO STRI was critical to staying on top of changing requirements. Also, early and often communication with SRD airworthiness and structures divisions was instrumental in ensuring the final design would be acceptable from all perspectives.”
Working together, numerous potential solutions were vetted until a successful one was found. Thus far 27 antenna mounts have been delivered, ensuring the Warfighter is ready to fight tonight.
“With the U.S. Army AvMC folks in the driver's seat they established the ‘dream team’ to solve this complex issue quickly supporting the CH-47F Chinook,” said Scott Gray, president of Elevate Systems, LLC. “The TESS Antenna installation needed a new, functional design so that the U.S. Army personnel could quickly install the system for training and then de-install the system so that the aircraft could return to active mission assignments."
“Realistic combat simulation training at CONUS and OCONUS combat training centers is crucial to Army readiness,” Peter said. “The CH-47F Chinook can now be brought back into that fold with full TESS capabilities.”
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.