Depot workforce collaborates to provide aerial agility to nation’s warfighters

By Nicolo Manzo and Danielle WeinschenkJuly 17, 2023

A person dressed in a black shirt works on a processing rack in a work area.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tobyhanna Army Depot Electronics Mechanic Helper Christian Daletto works on a processing rack. (Photo Credit: Nicolo Manzo) VIEW ORIGINAL
20 cables are lined up neatly in three columns in a work area.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cables are neatly displayed in a work area. (Photo Credit: Nicolo Manzo) VIEW ORIGINAL

Several Team Tobyhanna shops and tenants are collaborating to provide our nation’s warfighters with aerial supremacy via the Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft system (TUAS).

The drone-like system offers an agile and portable method of collecting reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence in the air. Team Tobyhanna’s efforts are in support of the brains of the operation – the universal ground control system (UGCS). The system is monitored and controlled by military personnel in the UGCS.

This new mission represented quite a challenge for the depot when it arrived in 2020. Depot artisans were tasked with finding a solution for obsolete components of the Shadow’s UGCS processing rack, while making the components common between the Shadow and fellow TUAS variant, Gray Eagle. Specifically, the customer sought an upgraded rack system, which was isolated for vibration purposes.

The initial plan was to produce 110 racks over five years. With a sweeping project overview that includes designing and developing the replacement rack, providing a technical data package, delivering fielding kits, updating manuals and developing a training support package, the Shadow mission requires complex support from across the depot.

Artisans in the Systems Integration and Support Directorate provide carpentry, machining, plating, sheet metal fabrication, and welding expertise as well as final system assembly. Design and troubleshooting support is provided by the Production Engineering Directorate, while project managers and production controllers manage logistics requirements.

The cross-functional team also received support from the Army Sustainment Command’s Packaging, Storage and Containerization Center (PSCC).  One of thirty-three tenant organizations on the installation, PSCC provides worldwide technical assistance to a variety of customers to improve and sustain Army Readiness across the Enterprise.

PSCC personnel designed, built and tested a shipping crate for the program, then conducting extensive non-destructive testing to ensure its durability. Engineer Jason Klimczak praised the collaborative effort and PSCC’s ongoing contributions to Tobyhanna’s mission supporting global readiness.

“It is absolutely a benefit to have PSCC here on-post; their unique capabilities allow us to meet customer requirements and provide a quality product to the warfighter,” he said. Klimczak works in the Production Engineering Directorate’s Design and Development Engineering Branch.

Once an initial design was agreed upon and racks were created, TYAD collaborated with U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (also known as CERDEC) to prove out the design of the initial 11 racks.

The hope is that the solution created by Team Tobyhanna can now be used on other UGCS components, creating more workload for TYAD and its collaborators and providing our nation’s warfighters with the best tools to complete missions safely.

The endeavor has been a rousing success, according to Logistics Management Specialist Christopher Rorick.

“PM UGCS is very pleased with our performance on this project, and our ability to support it has directly resulted in additional workload.” Rorick works in the Production Management Directorate.

Support for the Shadow TUAS is a critical part of warfighter readiness, and the mission directly aligns with Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2035, which has four focus areas: Investing in Our People, C5ISR Readiness, Shape the Future and Strategic Communications. TOBY2035 aims to posture the depot for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense's premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR 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 3,200 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 empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.