Jan 21, 2015
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — A test system designed to diagnose and repair complex naval avionics weapons systems was recently approved by the Navy for Low Rate Initial Production Lot 3 (LRIP 3), providing an additional 29 stations in support of fleet sites.
The LRIP 3 decision for the electronic Consolidated Automated Support Systems (eCASS), which was made Dec. 4, complements the LRIP 1 and 2 deliveries, bringing the total number of stations procured to 67.
This order includes the first Electro-Optics (EO) and High Power (HP) capable stations, which will help the Navy begin full-rate production and its initial operating capability — signifying that users have the ability to employ and maintain a system or product before proceeding to full operational capability.
Currently, Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, is slated to receive two EO stations in fiscal 2017 and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) will be the first carrier to receive eCASS in fiscal 2018. The carrier will receive six stations through its initial round of installations to support the transition from legacy CASS to eCASS — two HPs, three EOs and one RF.
With modernized and advanced features, the new eCASS will replace aging legacy CASS technology, which was designed in the 1980s and introduced to the fleet in 1994. Three of the LRIP 3 stations will be Radio Frequency (RF) capable eCASS stations that will support the E-2D program for depot maintenance, the first use of eCASS by an emerging aircraft platform. Measuring just over 6 feet wide, the system is small enough to deploy on aircraft carriers, allowing mechanics to troubleshoot and repair aircraft at sea or ashore.
“eCASS will be faster, more reliable and easier to maintain, improving upon legacy CASS performance,” said Capt. Brian Jacobs, who leads the Common Aviation Support Equipment Program Office (PMA-260). “It will also significantly reduce the total ownership cost of the Navy's automatic test equipment over the next 20 years.” PMA-260 manages the procurement, development and fielding of automatic test equipment for the Navy and Marine Corps.
eCASS has the ability to perform maintenance on a number of aircraft systems, including the F/A-18 radar, EA-6B and EA-18G airborne integrated jamming system, and the H-60’s forward-looking infrared system (FLIR). Eventually, all avionics supported on the legacy CASS as well as many of the emerging systems will be tested on eCASS.
"eCASS’ test results and its analysis of system performance and reliability are the best I have seen for a system at this stage of maturity,” said Chris Giggey, NAVAIR’s deputy program manager for automatic test systems in PMA-260. "I predict eCASS will be the tester of choice for the Navy's newest weapons systems, like P-8A Poseidon and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter."
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