Aggressive depot repair capability improves readiness
Adaptive depot repair capability is fortifying warfighter readiness at five Army installations in the continental United States (CONUS) and overseas.
The blending of skills and abilities from Tobyhanna Army Depot and the U.S. Communications-Electronics and Army Materiel commands is the cornerstone of the Depot Maintenance Forward (DMF) initiative. DMF is a concept created for units stationed in high-activity locations such as Korea and Germany to leverage repair without evacuating systems to distant facilities. Stateside repair hubs are located in Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
Critical C5ISR weapons systems deployed around the world now have easy access to sustainment level maintenance with the advent of these mini depots. DMF supports the Army’s Sustainable Readiness Model, in which reducing turnaround time the repair cycle combined with shipping is a top priority.
“We are able to refresh and extend the life of these assets,” said Edison Gomez, chief of the Field Logistics Support Directorate’s Far East Division. “Having a Depot Maintenance Forward repair facility closer to the warfighter saves time and money.” Division employees work closely with units located in the Republic of Korea and Japan.
Since the inception of DMF, Tobyhanna has inducted more than a dozen tactical network platforms including the AN/TSC-167 Satellite Transportable Terminal, AN/TRC-170 Tropospheric Scatter Microwave Radio Terminal, AN/TRC-190 High Capacity Line of Sight (HCLOS) Radio Terminal, AN/TSC-156D Phoenix Multi-Channel Tactical Satellite Communications (SATCOM) Terminal, and AN/TTC-59 Joint Network Node.
“We are establishing capabilities at the forward locations to receive, repair and return assets,” said Rob Lantka, Field Logistics Support Directorate director.
Tobyhanna and CECOM officials are also working together to identify the workforce, priorities of the Army units and required funding. Meanwhile, AMC provides the guidance and strategic goal, according to Lantka.
Lantka explained the CONUS sites will support inspection and repair functions, overseas sites will maintain a progressive maintenance mission, and overhaul requirements will be accomplished at Tobyhanna.
“Integrated Tactical Network (ITN) communication systems are vital to the success of the mission here [Korea],” said Electronics Mechanic Leader Valerie Hurd, Field Logistics Support Directorate, Far East Division. “Unfortunately, due to their geographical location it’s difficult for the unit to relinquish assets to participate in lengthy Reset or overhaul programs. By coming to the warfighter, we minimize the time their equipment would be unavailable and keep them in the fight.”
Army Readiness and the area of operation are key components in determining Depot Maintenance Forward mission requirements, according to Production Controller Mark Williams. Mission priorities in Europe are different from the Far East, or the United States, he said.
“The stateside locations focus on the United States Forces Command’s top 10 priorities,” Williams said. “In Korea and Germany, we’re dealing with the high priority systems in those areas of the world.”
Subject matter experts at Tobyhanna have joined forces with Germany’s Maintenance Activity Kaiserslautern and Korea’s Maintenance Support Command-Korea and stateside employees to expand repair capabilities using existing facilities.
Tobyhanna Army Depot also executes C5ISR Lifecycle Analysis Team (C-LAT) missions, which assess the condition of military systems around the world. C-LAT team members inspect these systems and rank the level of repair required for each piece of equipment.
“Technicians use a five-tier system,” said Katlin Edmunds, strategic business analyst, Tobyhanna Command Group. “Assets that rank one, two or three can be repaired at a forward repair facility. Systems that fall in the fourth and fifth tiers will be returned to the depot.”
So far, military members and employees have provided positive feedback on the new operation. One depot employee said she enjoys working for the warfighters while stationed at a forward support location.
“This job is definitely rewarding,” said Electronics Mechanic Patricia Craig. “From my observations, the warfighter appreciates the work we do.”