By Jacqueline BoucherFebruary 29, 2008
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. - A team of electronics technicians here are standardizing legacy (first generation) Tactical Operations Center shelter components, providing a command and control infrastructure that will allow commanders to execute their mission anywhere in the world.
Members of the Communications Systems Directorate's Tactical Satellite Systems Branch can return non-mission capable shelters to like-new condition in about 30 days. The first shipment of eight S-832A/G Standard Integrated Command Post Shelters upgrades is complete and 15 additional systems are in the process of being returned to operational status.
The TOC program integrates Army battle command systems, communications equipment, intercoms, and local area networks into standard Army platforms (vehicles and shelters) and tents.
A SICPS shelter can support at least 10 different missions. For instance, the system is hard wired for personnel radio communications, airborne equipment, local area network lines, fax and fiber optics, according to John Magda (a resident of Wilkes-Barre) and Bob Morgan (a resident of Moscow), electronics mechanics leaders.
"Anyone can build upon what Tobyhanna has placed in the shelter to support whatever mission with those original 10 missions," said Morgan.
The shelter is mounted on a vehicle to provide units with a mobile, self-contained and reliable platform that houses a unit's communications/electronics equipment. A single TOC shelter might serve as a stand-alone command post or combine with other TOCs to form a larger, higher echelon command post.
"In August 2006 the legacy TOC production program concluded," explained Al Trapanese, assistant product manager, Fort Monmouth, N.J.
A year later, in response to customer needs, a program was instituted with Tobyhanna to refurbish and reissue the legacy shelters that were being displaced by a newer configuration.
Some customers still preferred the legacy shelters because they provided consistency to what had already been fielded to the unit, he added.
The legacy shelters arriving from the field need a complete rebuild, according to Morgan. He noted that the shelters have been modified so many times they no longer meet any mission requirements. Plus, most of them haven't seen the inside of a depot in years.
"Units often modify shelters to support different missions-weather, command post or communications," said Magda, work leader. "We're trying to bring them [the shelters] back to mission capable status so they're ready to go out to the warfighter or whoever needs them."
"One unit sent three shelters that were totally gutted," Morgan said. "We had to install everything from the original wiring, control panels, and vehicle interface to the air conditioners and filters."
Employees from several shops throughout the depot play a part in rebuilding the shelters.
"The cooperation of everyone in the shops has been wonderful," Magda said. "Whenever we go to someone with a problem, they're more than willing to help."
Morgan agrees that the program is a great team effort, adding that the shelters leave the depot looking like new.
"This initiative demonstrates the Army's ability to recognize user need and expeditiously respond by offering a viable, cost-effective solution," Trapanese said. "Additionally, tax dollars are saved by reusing what has already been paid for.
"Furthermore, customer comments praise the quality of work and dedication of Team Tobyhanna in assuring this program reaches a successful conclusion."
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 5,500 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 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.