The US Navy's electronic consolidated automated support system (eCASS) has achieved milestone C acquisition approval, marking a step ahead for limited production and deployment of the next-generation device used to test aircraft avionics.
Managed by Naval Air Systems Command's (NAVAIR) Common Aviation Support Equipment Program Office (PMA-260), eCASS will replace the current CASS test equipment, the US Navy's standard automatic test equipment family supporting naval aircraft electronics since the 1990s.
PMA-260 principal deputy programme manager Dennis Albrecht said the legacy CASSs are more than two decades old, are becoming difficult to support and are technologically obsolete.
"Replacement with eCASS is critical to continuing optimal and affordable aircraft readiness. eCASS will become the backbone of avionics repair across the Naval Aviation Enterprise," Albrecht said.
The new support system will be used by sailors and marines to troubleshoot and repair aircraft at sea or ashore in order to quickly and efficiently return equipment to readiness status.
Automatic Test Systems PMA-260's deputy programme manager Chris Giggey said that the eCASS saves more than $1bn per annum for the navy by avoiding the repair of avionics at the next level of maintenance or sending the parts back to the original equipment manufacturer.
"The next-generation eCASS is technologically advanced and capable of supporting the navy and marine corps' current and future aircraft, such as the P-8A and F-35, which are undergoing level-of-repair analysis," Giggey said.
The CASS provides intermediate, depot and factory level support, of all Navy electronics from aircraft to ships and submarines.