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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

ELMACO gains optical advantage

By Sgt. Skip Osborn | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | February 08, 2001

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON -- For the Marines of Electronic Maintenance Company, 1st Maintenance Battalion, 1st Force Service Support Group, the ability to rapidly provide support or equipment repairs in a field environment has never been a real option - until now. 

Marines of Optics Platoon, Ordnance Maintenance Company, 1st Maint. Bn., 1st FSSG and Marine Corps Systems Command began a field user's test of the Third Echelon Test Set Feb. 1, in the rugged terrain surrounding Las Pulgas Lake, here. 
Part of the requirements for TETS is its ability to mount either on a test bench, or in the back of a vehicle for transportation to the field, giving maintenance Marines front-line capability.

Not only is the system "ruggedized" for the field, but the speed with which it can complete its diagnostics greatly enhances ELMACO's efficiency.
"For example, with the current special purpose test equipment ordnance Marines have, it takes anywhere from six to eight hours to perform semi-annual preventive maintenance on the TOW2 weapons sight," said CWO3 Eugene L. Morin Jr., Automatic Test Solutions Project Officer, Marine Corps Systems Command.  "With the TETS system, operators can do the test in an one hour or less.  If something is wrong they can tell exactly what internal component has malfunctioned and fix it where it's at, instead of replacing the entire weapon sight, so it's a huge savings in time and money."

According to test officials, what makes the system so unique is its ability to test a variety of optics and weapon sights.

"This system can be used to test a myriad of optics systems," said Morin.  "Currently it can test forward-looking infrared systems, laser range finders, and video and display systems, as well as a host of weapons sites, such as those found on the Dragon, Avenger, or (tube launched, optically tracked, wire guided) missile system."

"The primary purpose of the test is to project maintenance capabilities as far forward on the battlefield as possible," said test director Steve Shrout, ATE Functional Analyst.  "You can put it in the back of a (High Mobility, Multi-purpose, Wheeled Vehicle), drive it to where you're going to set up shop, and operate it on as many as three different power sources, 110v alternating current, 220v AC, or 28v direct current, so it's a pretty rugged and adaptable system."
Another purpose for the test is to check TETS ability to survive transportation to the field, and for operators to be able to set the system up for operation in less than 30 minutes.

"We're bringing it out to conduct a field-users test to ensure that the hardware can do what it's supposed to do," said Morin.  "We're here to validate the operational requirements of the system."

In addition, the system programs can be updated to incorporate new weapons systems. 

"We believe the hardware that currently exists in the system is adequate for use with the majority of weapon systems in the current arsenal, as well as those in the acquisition pipeline," said Shrout.  "All you have to do is find out what weapon system you want to support, and develop new software for it."

The final purpose of the test is for those Marines who use the system to give their input to the system designers.

"This is the last chance the operators, or the Marine Corps for that matter, has to recommend a design change," said Morin.  For instance, the operators have said they don't like the tripod that comes with the system; they say it's too light.  Without this testing phase the designers wouldn't know that so this is a vital part of the acquisition process."

Morin went on to say that provided all goes well in the testing phase, ordnance Marines should start seeing the final version of TETS in just over a year.


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