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Depot resets Black Hawk Avionics Systems.

TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- Reset of the first two of 250 complete UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter avionics suites has been completed ahead of schedule.

Repair, overhaul and testing began April 19 and the two suites were shipped May 18, beating the 45-day deadline, said Mike Jones, electronics mechanic supervisor, Transponder Branch, Avionics Division, Command, Control, and Computers/Avionics Directorate. Reset is returning equipment to the condition it was prior to deployment to support future requirements.

"We're working on six suites now," said Chris LaBadie, Navigation Systems Branch chief. "We expect to Reset 52 suites this year after these initial eight are done and 190 more in fiscal year 2007."

The suites are composed of all 59 avionics systems in a Black Hawk helicopter, including AN/APX-100 Identification Friend or Foe Transponders, Doppler radars, stabilator amplifiers (controls the horizontal airfoil at the tail of the helicopter), Aircraft Single Channel Air and Ground Radio Systems, master warning panels and the main command instrument computer processor.

"Most of these items are standard work for us, but an entire suite under a Reset deadline is a new mission. We had no problem meeting the objective," said George Bellas, director of C3/Avionics. "We expect to meet or beat the deadline for the other suites as well."

Components that are not standard, such as marker beacons and compass controllers, are being analyzed by Production Engineering Directorate personnel to give the depot capability to repair, overhaul and test them.

"They helped with items we've never worked on or haven't in a while such as the master warning panel and the IFF transponder antenna," Jones said. "They've also assisted in producing component schematics. Engineering's work has been outstanding."

Program Manager Aviation Reset (Redstone Arsenal, Ala.) assigned this mission to Tobyhanna to ensure the rapid turn around of UH-60 aircraft being reset at Beeville, Texas. Additionally, Tobyhanna supports rapid repair and return of avionics at nearby Corpus Christi Army Depot. Tobyhanna personnel are stationed at CCAD working with CCAD technicians to carry out comprehensive depot-level repair.

In the future, the same process at CCAD will be performed at Beeville until the UH-60 reset mission is completed.

"We sent employees to Beeville to inventory and package the first suites and realized an FRA (Forward Repair Activity) would be very helpful in this mission," Bellas said. "We will open an FRA there for at least two years."

For now, all the work is done at Tobyhanna. Suites are brought into the Avionics Division, broken down and the individual components sent to division branches and the SINCGARS Branch of the Communications Systems Directorate.

"We've applied Lean concepts and expect costs to drop," Jones said. "We've streamlined induction and shipping processes and have become more efficient as the mission progresses. Our induction, inventory and distribution process has dropped from 20 hours to 15. We're looking at our current Lean processes as a benchmark for everything we do. PII (Productivity Improvement and Innovation Direction) through Lean events has been invaluable at helping us evaluate our Lean process so we can work smarter, not harder."

Lean concepts include reorganizing workspace and equipment to increase efficiency, identifying unproductive processes and introducing production control aids.

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 4,400 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 and Headquartered at Fort Monmouth, N.J., C-E LCMC's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.

Mr. Ricchiazzi is a writer with the Tobyhanna Public Affairs Office, Tobyhanna Army Depot, Tobyhanna, Pa.
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Title Annotation:UH-60 Black Hawk
Author:Ricchiazzi, Anthony
Publication:Army Communicator
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2006
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