Monday, May 3, 2010

US Navy’s Got CASS: Updating a 1990s Vintage Automatic Test System

The Navy recently awarded an $83 million contract for e-CASS development, production and testing. The AN/USM-636(V) Consolidated Automated Support System (CASS) is the US Navy’s standard automatic test equipment family. It provides intermediate, depot and factory level support, both ashore and afloat, for testing all Navy electronics, from aircraft to ships and submarines.

CASS has been around since 1990, and it’s time for an upgrade. The Navy is planning to replace the existing 5 CASS mainframe systems with the next-generation electronic CASS (e-CASS) system. US Naval aviation currently uses 713 CASS stations for testing of aircraft electronics. CASS is also used at the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and in 9 foreign countries… 

Central CASSting

The new e-CASS system will replace the following 5 CASS mainframe systems:
  • Hybrid – The CASS Hybrid station provides the core test capability for general purpose electronics, computers, instruments, and flight controls.
  • Radio Frequency (RF) – The CASS RF station provides Hybrid station test capability plus electronic countermeasure, electronic counter-countermeasures, and electronic warfare support measures; and fire control, navigation, tracking, and surveillance radar, and radar altimeter support capability.
  • High Power – The CASS High Power station provides RF station capability plus the capability to test high power radar systems, such as the APG-65 and APG-73.
  • Communications/Navigation/Interrogation (CNI) – The CASS CNI station provides RF station capability plus communication, navigation, interrogation, and spread spectrum system support capability.
  • Electro-Optic (EO) – The CASS EO station provides Hybrid station test capability plus support capability for forward looking infrared, lasers/ designators, laser range finders, and visual systems.
In addition to these systems, the Navy uses a mobile CASS variety called the Reconfigurable Transportable CASS (RTCASS), supplied by Boeing. RTCASS provides a man-portable CASS configuration using COTS hardware and software to meet USMC V-22 and H-1 support requirements as well as to replace mainframe CASS stations at USMC fixed wing aircraft (EA-6B, F/A-18 and AV-8B) support sites.

In addition to Lockheed Martin and Boeing, Northrop Grumman supplies CASS electro-optic subsystem and DRS Technologies provides CASS high-power subsystems.

The next-generation eCASS will be procured as 1 core system, and 5 different eCASS mission equipment kits (MEK), which are RF test subsystems. The eCASS core system and different combinations of eCASS MEKs allow eCASS to perform the 5 legacy CASS missions (above) and a new eCASS depot mission. 

Contracts and Key Events

April 29/10: Textron’s AAI Corp. announces that it has won a contract from Lockheed Martin to design and build the radio frequency (RF) components for the electronic Consolidated Automated Support System (eCASS). The maximum value of the contract is $43 million, with immediate funding of $2 million. AAI is Lockheed Martin’s principal subcontractor on the program.

Under this contract, AAI has agreed to design and build 49 RF test subsystems known as mission equipment kits (MEKs) for Lockheed Martin’s eCASS test stations, which will be utilized by the Navy to test critical systems – including weapons, avionics and navigation – on its aircraft fleet. In addition, AAI has agreed to provide 2 depot MEKs.

March 18/10: Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training and Support, Orlando, FL won an $83.3 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to design, develop, fabricate, integrate, and test the electronic Consolidated Automated Support System (e-CASS). In addition, the contract provides for the procurement of 14 engineering development models during the system design and development phase of the contract. 

Lockheed Martin will perform the work in Orlando, FL (61%); Hunt Valley, MD (26%); North Reading, MA (12%); and Reston, VA (1%), and expects to complete the work in March 2015. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals, with 3 offers were received by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-10-C-0225). 

May 21/09: Boeing’s subsidiary McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis, MO received a $32.4 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-03-C-0055) to manufacture, test, and deliver 23 reconfigurable transportable consolidated automated support systems (RTCASS) for the US Navy (21) and the US Air Force (2). In addition, this modification provides for 12 self-maintenance and test/calibration interface devices for the Navy (10) and the Air Force (2).

Boeing will perform the work in North Reading, MA (60%) and St. Louis, MO (40%), and expects to complete it in September 2010. This contract combines purchases for the Navy ($29.5 million) and the U.S. Air Force ($2.9 million). The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract.

Sept 18/09: Boeing announces that it received a $31.9 million contract from the US Navy for the design and production of the Reconfigurable Transportable Consolidated Automated Support System (RTCASS) to support existing CASS weapons system test program sets. This contract has a total potential value of more than $200 million over a 7-year period. 

Under the contract, Boeing will act as prime systems integrator, perform systems engineering, design and develop the test program sets transportability tools and station run time software, and perform the logistics, training, and technical publications functions. Team members include Systems & Electronics and Teradyne.

Jan 19/01: Lockheed Martin, under a contract modification worth approximately $63 million over 3 years, announces that it will provide 40 CASS stations to the US Navy. Equipment to be provided includes 20 Hybrid and 20 RF stations as well as various ancillary equipment and station maintenance. This is a modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed price contract issued by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD. 

April 18/00: Lockheed Martin announces that it reached an agreement with the US Navy worth an estimated $142 million to support logistics operations for its CASS assets. The consolidated support pool agreement with Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and the Naval Inventory Control Point (NAVICP) combines resources maintained under separate support contracts to reduce inventory, decrease sustainment costs and improve the speed of repairs.

The agreement provides incentive payments to Lockheed Martin tied to improved reliability of repairable components for the CASS stations. The work will be performed in Orlando, FL through 2007.

March 1/00: Lockheed Martin announces that it was awarded a contract for continued production of CASS, the Navy’s standard avionics testing system. With options, the contract is worth up to $287 million. Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will provide CASS stations in production lots 10 to 13 through 2005. 

Additional Readings
AMDO Association – CASS in the Fleet: An Update
Nortrhop Grumman – Electro-Optical Subsystem
DRS Technologies – High-Power Avionics Test System [pdf]
FedBizOpps (March 15/09) – eCASS

This article can be found in its original entirety here.

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