By Sofia BledsoeFebruary 1, 2012
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Feb. 1, 2012) -- The U.S. Army teamed with the U.S. Coast Guard on the Standard Aircraft Towing System Joint Venture during a Roll-Off Ceremony at the NMC-Wollard facility today in Eau Claire, Wis.
The first five Standard Aircraft Towing Systems, or SATS, rolled off the production line and were delivered to the U.S. Coast Guard by the Product Office for Aviation Ground Support Equipment, known as AGSE, part of the Program Executive Office for Army Aviation, during the Initial Joint-Use Production Line Roll-Off event.
"SATS represents the mutually beneficial scenario to both government and business that occurs when a system that one service is using can be incorporated for use by another, with little or no modifications, and our industry partners are flexible and responsive enough to accommodate the increased production requirements," said Lt. Col. Steven Ansley, product manager for AGSE.
Used for pushing or towing all Army rotary and fixed wing aircraft, the SATS is a towing vehicle which has been in the field supporting Army Aviation units since 2010. The SATS is also capable of towing all the associated AGSE for the U.S. Army and is an integral piece of ground support equipment that supports Army aviation missions every day.
To date, the Army has bought 487 SATS and fielded them to units worldwide. The U.S. Coast Guard will now begin fielding nearly 100 SATS to its worldwide locations.
Bruce Steingart, vice president of NMC-Wollard, said the demand for the SATS has grown especially with the new Coast Guard order.
"A joint venture of this magnitude is very exciting for the company and its employees," Steingart said. "We are very pleased with the success of the SATS program and look forward to long and mutually successful relationship with the United States Coast Guard."
Modifications to the SATS are already underway and will enhance the protection of Soldiers while they operate the vehicle on open airfields. During the AGSE User's Conference in September 2009, the Product Office heard from Soldiers representing various Aviation Brigades who unanimously recommended a modification to the SATS that will protect them from all the weather elements they encounter.
The Product Office initiated a modification to the contract which includes a rigid cab structure called the Crew Protection System, or CPS. The CPS has a ventilation capacity via sliding side and rear windows, complete with heating, interior lighting and an easy on/off design.
The CPS has been fielding since Oct. 2011, both directly from the production line at NMC-Wollard and as a retrofit to the pre-CPS versions which are being installed on those units at their Army home stations.
"PM AGSE is very pleased with the dedication and responsiveness NMC-Wollard has shown, specifically in cutting the CPS into their existing production process," said Ansley. "They are producing a system which is making the lives of Army Aviation Soldiers, and now our Coast Guard brothers and sisters, easier and allowing them to perform their aircraft maintenance mission more effectively."