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Collins also manages the flow of repair parts to the depot, as part The depot also provides training to its personnel. “Most of the of what Haag describes as a public-private partnership. technicians on the floor have associate’s degrees,” said Kachmarsky. The company will also act as a backup to the depot in the event “We provide a lot of internal training classes for radio maintenance and of a work backlog. “That is where the partnership comes in,” said circuit analysis. When we get technicians off the street, if they are lackHaag. “If Tobyhanna gets in higher-priority work, we will redirect ing in formal education, we send them to one of our internal classes.” work to Rockwell Collins for repair. We act as a backup to each “Most of our technicians also go through our soldering training other. In general, we work on different components, but we can also program,” added Baron. work on each other’s components. Tobyhanna is set up to repair all A big part of Thales’s relationship with the depot revolves around of the components in the CAAS cockpit. We support the depot with the provision of spare parts for the radios being worked on. “For any training and testing equipment. We supply any proprietary pieces component inside the radio that could possibly cause a failure, the that may be necessary, but the depot plays the role as the primary depot has access to it directly from us or through the Army’s supply maintainer of the CAAS cockpit. We also help with obsolescence system to get a replacement.” issues, but in the case of open systems like CAAS, obsolescence Typically, these are procured on an as-needed basis. “Although,” tends to be less of a problem.” Crouell added, “they do try to forecast their repair activity. The depot Rockwell Collins has an ongoing public-private partnership with usually prefers to go through the supply system for items catalogued Tobyhanna on CAAS for about the last two years. The company has in that system. Otherwise, they come directly to Thales for other participated in similar arrangements with other military depots for items. We required by contract to provide spares for the radios we the past 15 years. provide the U.S. military for a period of time.” Thales Security & Defense is currently negotiating a publicOnce the original manufacturer is no longer obligated to supply private partnership with the Army for the sustainment of the Riflespare parts for a given piece of equipment, parts can become obsolete, man radio, a software-defined radio that will provide networking meaning that they are no longer available commercially. But that connectivity to frontline soldiers. Crouell expects that, under that doesn’t mean the depot has no further use for those parts. CECOM agreement, the depot will be responsible for the repair of both nongenerally advises the depot on obsolescence issues, providing inforwarranty and warranty items. mation on alternate vendors for obsolete parts and alternate compo“Having the depot handle the warranty work is not that unusual,” nents for those that have simply disappeared from the marketplace. said Crouell. “The Rifleman radios will be essential items for national “If we discover alternates to obsolete parts, we get approval through defense. Under the law, the government must maintain a core capathe program office or CECOM to use them,” said Baron. bility to maintain those products. We are implementing all of the Solving problems of obsolescence will often add time and money logistics required to implement that arrangement.” to a repair project. “We sometimes have to advise a customer that they Thales had five maintenance depots in Kuwait, Iraq may have to delay a milestone because of the lack of and Afghanistan until 2013. In addition to Tobyhanna, availability of obsolete parts,” said Baron. “Sometimes the company also currently supports Army depots in OEMs say they can reproduce the parts, but that tends Fort Dix, Fort Hood, Fort Bragg and Fort Carson. “We to be costly. In those cases, we advise the customer sent personnel to those places and established mainteabout the increased costs and they say yes or no.” nance and testing capabilities,” said Haag. Thales has also provided some testing equipment The arrangement and partnerships that Tobyto Tobyhanna that is used to certify the radio at the end hanna has with its contractors work well, according to of the repair process and before release. “They prefer Crouell. “It gives us a single point of contact that we to use slightly different equipment from what we use are responsible to instead of hundreds or thousands of in the factory,” said Crouell. “We worked with a thirdend-users,” he said. “The Army also has a single point party vendor to develop and deliver that test solution Bob Haag of contact for the repair of these radios. I think these to the depot.” kinds of relationships will continue to succeed, espeRockwell Collins works with the Tobyhanna Army cially as products become more complex. The depots will continue Depot on the sustainment of the Common Avionics Architecture to rely on the contractors they know well and have a good working System (CAAS). CAAS was originally developed for special operations relationship with. We have a contractual pipeline in place with TobyMH-47G Chinook and MH-60L/M Black Hawk aircraft. It has since hanna, and it works pretty efficiently.” evolved as the common digital architecture for rotary wing aircraft for Haag sees the Army taking on more of the sustainment role for the U.S. Army. CAAS is an integrated flight and mission management CAAS as it develops the skill sets required for maintaining its sophiscapability and one of the first fully open, non-proprietary systems ticated components. “Tobyhanna has done a good job developing the that embraces existing commercial standards on large platforms. The required skills in its personnel,” he said. “I can see them reaching out modularity of the open system reduces the costs of technology inserand performing similar work for other of the armed services.” tions and capability upgrades. CAAS incorporates cockpit flight and Military radios are becoming more complex, noted Kachmarsky, mission management, and integrates communications, navigation, with more and more functionality loaded into a single box. “We will weapons and mission sensor subsystems. need greater levels of automation to help us with all of those func“CAAS has the advantage of being more easily upgradable, which tions,” he said. O reduces its life cycle costs,” said Bob Haag, senior director for global services business development at Rockwell Collins. “New technology For more information, contact Editor-in-Chief Jeff McKaughan can be inserted in the architecture on a plug-and-play basis.” at jeffm@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories Rockwell Collins manages the equipment flow from the field to at www.mlf-kmi.com. Tobyhanna on behalf of the depot. As part of that process, Rockwell www.MLF-kmi.com

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Mlf 9 6 final  

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Mlf 9 6 final  

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