Tobyhanna Army Depot: Center of Radar Excellence
A large, white radome dominates the high ground at Tobyhanna Army Depot in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. It symbolizes the growing number of radars and sensors, including air defense, air traffic control, ground surveillance, airborne, shipborne, range threat systems, and critical counterfire systems, which Tobyhanna personnel maintain and support for the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy.
“Tobyhanna has been repairing and testing radars since the 1960s,” said COL Charles Gibson, commander of Tobyhanna Army Depot, “so we have extensive capability and experience in this critical commodity.”
Facilities, experience, and personnel make Tobyhanna DOD’s one-stop-shop for radar sustainment, engineering, redesign, and environmental testing.
Tobyhanna has flexible and modern facilities to effectively handle today’s radars and accommodate additional systems. The depot’s Antenna and Radar Range Campus offers 12 distinct radar test sites comprising multiple test pads, as well as specialized support facilities and equipment. Indoor testing includes several anechoic chambers, Near Field Probes, an elevated temperature burn facility, and rain testing. Outdoor testing includes modified Munson Road facilities, used to ensure that systems will function after being driven over rough terrain, and a Tower Track calibration range.
The indoor and outdoor facilities were designed and installed with flexibility in mind, for rapid adjustment to changing missions and to meet technical advancements. These facilities enable the depot to support not only current repair and overhaul missions but also upgrades, modifications, and technical insertions. “We do not need to take the radars to any another facility. We can do it all here,” said George Galaydick, Electronics Engineer in the Production Engineering Directorate.
The latest additions to the depot’s 50 years of radar support are the Marine Corps’ AN/TPQ-46 Firefinder Radar, the AN/TPS-59 Tactical Ballistic Missile Detection and Tracking Radar, and the AN/TPS-63 Air Surveillance Radar. These radars transferred to Tobyhanna from Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, CA, as a result of a 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decision.
“The Marine Corps’ AN/TPQ-46 radar was a natural fit for Tobyhanna, since it is essentially a version of the Army’s AN/TPQ-36 system, which is already fully supported by the depot with existing facilities and highly trained personnel,” said Deputy Commander Frank Zardecki.
The surveillance radars are supported with new testing facilities and repair capabilities, such as the 77-foot diameter protective radome, a signal source and target tower, and a Far-Field Antenna Pattern Range complex capable of supporting a broad range of frequencies.
The depot supports more than 20 major radar systems, including the Firefinder family of radars, the Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar, Air Force air defense radars, air traffic control and landing systems, and Electronic Warfare Range threat simulators. In FY10, the depot completed the repair and overhaul of more than 100 major radar systems and countless secondary radar items for both DOD and Foreign Military Sales customers.
“So whether it’s air defense, counterfire, air traffic control, navigation, long-range surveillance, threat simulators, mine detectors, or even interrogators and transponders, Tobyhanna has the tools, skills, and facilities to support mission-essential tasks,” said Mark Viola, Chief of the C4ISR Maintenance Division, Production Engineering Directorate. C4ISR comprises command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems.
In all, Tobyhanna has more than 500 employees dedicated to radar systems support, including the largest concentration of electronics mechanics with radar skills in DOD.
The depot’s reach is global, with a number of Forward Repair Activities throughout the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, which support counterbattery radars, such as Firefinder and Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar, said Joe Salamido, Chief of the ISR Engineering Branch in the Production Engineering Directorate.
“In fact, hundreds of people are in the field every day keeping the warfighter’s C4ISR systems up and running,” he added.
Tobyhanna is always looking to the future, Viola said. “On the horizon are some of the latest Defense Department radars, including the Firefinder EQ-36,Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar, AN/TPY-2 Ballistic Missile Defense Radar, Deployable Radar Approach Control, and the new Joint Threat Emitter systems and sensor suites onboard Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”
“As new systems like these move from manufacturer support to organic, Tobyhanna will be there to ensure that the nation’s Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines continue to see in new and better ways and survive the challenges of tomorrow’s battlefield,” Gibson said.
- From Tobyhanna Public Affairs