Key surveillance systems part of surge workload

By Mr. Anthony Ricchiazzi (AMC)May 20, 2010

Key surveillance systems part of surge workload
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, PA. - Electro Optics/Night Vision personnel are preparing several key surveillance systems to support the surge in Afghanistan.

Technicians in the Man Portables Branch of the Electro Optic/Night Vision Division are Resetting several Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance Systems (LRAS-3) for an Army unit set to deploy to Afghanistan.

The division is part of the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Directorate.

The LRAS-3 is a multi sensor system used by scout units to detect, recognize, identify and geo-locate distant targets.

"It uses Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) imaging to allow Soldiers to see people and vehicles in any weather condition," said Colt Bowen, electronics mechanic. "It is mounted on Humvees and Strykers, and is used dismounted as well."

Branch Chief Steve Boyce said the system has global positioning, a laser range finder and an inclinometer to pinpoint and provide coordinates of hostile forces, whether they are on foot or in vehicles. The system was fielded in 2001.

"We started working on this system about two years ago," Boyce said. "We began with inspecting and testing, and have been developing repair capability. For this rush job, we are testing and replacing components such as circuit cards."

"We can repair the housing and hand grips," Bowen added.

Four technicians are working the quick-response mission.

"Troubleshooting is the most difficult part of this," said Scott Marzec, electronics worker. "We find different problems on every system. One may need a new part for the GPS, another may have a problem with a FLIR circuit card."

"Plus there are six versions of the system and not everything is interchangeable," Boyce noted. "The programming and circuit cards are different, so if they find a problem with a circuit card, it's not just a matter of popping in another card. The programming has to match as well."

Robert Youngblood, the LRAS 3 Integrated Logistics Support Manager, says Tobyhanna Army Depot provides PM FLIR with the capability to support the Warfighter in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"PM FLIR (LRAS3) has been working with the depot's electro optics shop since late fiscal year 2008 and have developed a relationship and capability which has been highly beneficial to both parties," he said. "Tobyhanna provides the Program Manager with a resource that we can call on to meet short suspense's to provide much needed equipment into the hands of the our Soldiers and warfighters."

"This capability is truly a 'Force Mutiplier,' he added. "The PM will continue to work with Tobyhanna Army Depot and EO shop there, as well as our offsite storage facility in Warehouse 5 that provides us with the capability to store and ship critical equipment and parts to support the warfighter."

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.