By Anthony RicchiazziJanuary 25, 2010
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. - Technicians in the Ground Radio Branch have completed the first-ever depot repair of new radio systems.
The commercial off-the-shelf multi-band radios are replacing older radios such as the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System.
The new radios include the AN/PRC-117 multiband, multimission, manpack radio, the AN/PRC-150 high frequency manpack radio, the AN/PRC-152 single-channel multiband, multimission handheld radio, the AN/VRC-103 multiband, multimission manpack radio system, the AN/VRC-104 power amplifier and the AN/VRC-110 vehicle amplifier.
They are used by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines in several environments, including Tactical Operations Centers and air defense and airspace management (ADAMS) cells.
The AN/PRC-117 works with the AN/VRC-103, the AN/PRC-150 works with the AN/VRC-104, and the AN/PRC-152 works with the AN/VRC-110.
"These radios are software driven and can handle voice and data in different frequencies, and through satellite communications and other types of radios," said Robert Miscavage III, Ground Radio Branch electronics mechanic. "They can be programmed with specific software and can transmit that programming to other radios on the same network."
The branch is part of the Communications Systems Directorate's Tactical Communications Division.
Branch Chief Joseph Martin Jr. said the radios are state-of-the-art and technicians only recently completed maintenance training.
"They have been trained to use hot mock ups and automated test equipment to test and repair all versions of the radios," he said. "There are different versions in each series depending on what software is loaded."
Branch technicians Pedro Alves, Frank Kernoski, Jason Pietreface and Todd Slakoper also received training.
"We have not had any trouble handling the new workload," Slakoper said. "When we find a fault in a circuit card or other module, we replace it."
Martin noted that Tobyhanna Army Depot is interested in pursuing further capability to repair down to component level to carry out repairs beyond swapping modules and circuit boards.
"Technicians will be trained on the newest version of the AN/PRC-117 (G) Radio this spring," he added.
Martin said that the mission was developed by Tobyhanna. "I was conducting research to identify potential work for the depot in (CECOM Life Cycle Management Command) 2006 Project Book and read about these radios," he said. "Joe Magnotta (division chief) and Ron Cappellini (director) saw the potential and supported the effort. Rich Woodworth (director of Business Management) secured funds to develop our capability."
"This is a great team effort between shop personnel, Jim Kachmarsky (Production Engineering) and Bob Hadley (Business Management) to have the foresight to identify a potential opportunity, develop repair capability and attain workload," Cappellini said. "If not for the people mentioned in this article, Tobyhanna Army Depot would not be postured to support this mission."
Further coordination with the CECOM Life Cycle Management Command and the manufacturer resulted in the current ability to test and repair the radios at the component level.
"It's a win-win situation," Martin said. "We have a new mission and CECOM has another source of repair to get the radios back to the warfighter as quickly as possible."
Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department's largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.
About 5,600 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 CECOM Life Cycle Management Command. Headquartered at Fort Monmouth, N.J., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.