DVIDS – News – 5 Iron Brigade Soldiers Saved US Army $26 Million Since April


sergeant. Tara Fajardo Arteaga, 113th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
SKWIERZYNA, Poland — Since the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division kicked off in April 2022, it has begun working to become combat-ready during its rotation in Poland. By using their Next Generation Automated Test System (NGATS) to repair or replace Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) of Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M1A2 Abrams Tanks, they saved the Army $26 million in just five months.

In the summer of 2021, the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division was one of the first brigades to field the NGATS system, allowing them to prepare for current mobilization.

“We have commissioned two NGATS systems, consisting of 4 containers with electronic diagnostic and troubleshooting systems inside, as well as work benches and an overhead lifting system,” said Lt. Col. of the U.S. Army Patrick Reardon, commander of the 64th Sustainment Brigade. Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. “Soldiers will take an LRU, they’ll put it on the hoist, they’ll put it on the workbench, and they’ll connect the wire harnesses to the LRU. These wire harnesses are fed back into the troubleshooting and diagnostic electronics system and then they run the diagnostics. What the NGATS does is determine where the faults are inside that LRU. So it will tell us that a circuit board is faulty, so we know we just need to replace that circuit board to get the entire LRU fully mission capable for this Bradley.

The LRU is the brain of the war machinery, and without that brain it becomes mission unfit.

“Every tank and every Bradley has an LRU, they are basically boxes full of electronics inside that perform various functions on those rigs. A simple LRU can cost anywhere from $80,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the capability that we bring with the NGATS system is the ability to repair the internals of these very expensive components. So where we can buy and replace a circuit board for $14,000 and open an LRU and replace the simple circuit board, it saves us from buying a whole new LRU which can cost between $80,000 and $100,000.

Reardon is proud of the soldiers who lead the NGATS, namely five automatic test systems operators and an electronic systems maintenance warrant officer, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Rodriguez. And fittingly, the previous unit, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, saved about $3 million in the first few months of its rotation in Poland. The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team has already saved eight times that amount in five months.

“We’ve already saved, based on the troubleshooting and repairs we’ve done, much more exponentially than how the last unit did,” Rodriguez said.

When asked why, Rodriguez replied, “They were using the old system, DSESTS, which is a predecessor system to NGATS.”

DSESTS stands for Direct Support Electrical Systems Test Sets and is superseded by the more efficient NGATS system.

“DSESTS is the legacy system that we’ve had for years,” Reardon said. “In the last couple of years NGATS has replaced DSESTS which has been around since probably the 80’s. Army Materiel Command sent us the NGATS platforms and it has proven to be much more effective than the system DSESTS that we have always used.

The NGATS system allows for more accurate diagnosis of any problem that may occur in an LRU that may require repair or replacement.

“When we talk about our control systems and our electronics, that’s really where we talk about LRU,” Reardon said. “If our operational readiness drops, it’s usually because of LRU outages. And that’s where diagnosing them, repairing them, and getting them back into action is so critical so soldiers can keep firing on these rigs and stay ready at all times.

Date taken: 08.10.2022
Date posted: 24.08.2022 04:20
Story ID: 427914

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