Aviation Ground Support Equipment: The Forgotten Enabler

The Army's stock of aviation ground support equipment is aging and falling into disrepair.


The multipurpose aircraft support system (MASS) will be used to reposition fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft and AGSE in hangars and maintenance areas. This equipment will provide a standard towing system for soldiers in the field. It will be logistically supportable and capable of on- and off-road convoy operations without being a secondary load. System development began late in fiscal year 2004 and will continue through fiscal year 2005. Several towing systems will be purchased from vendors who can meet the performance specifications. These systems will be rotated through selected aviation units, and the best system will be selected for fielding. Procurement of the selected system will begin by the second quarter of fiscal year 2006.


The unit maintenance aerial recovery kit (UMARK), which replaces the aerial recovery kit (ARK), provides an aerial recovery capability for Army aircraft. The initial urgent need statement allowed for the procurement of 11 kits in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. By the end of the first quarter of fiscal year 2005, the 240-kit fielding should be complete.


Battle damage assessment and repair (BDAR) kits include electrical repair tool and consumable kits, high- and low-pressure fluid-line repair kits and fuel cell or skin repair kits. Eleven sets were procured, assembled and shipped within 30 days to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sixteen kits for unit-level maintainers were procured during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2004. A full-rate production review with decision authority is scheduled for the first quarter of fiscal year 2005.


The aircraft cleaning and deicing system (ACDS) is a self-contained, stand-alone, portable, lightweight, low-pressure aircraft and engine cleaning and deicing system. It is designed to collect and filter water runoff as required by the Environmental Protection Agency. The system operates at 4 gallons per minute and 300 pounds per square inch, making it safe for all aircraft, and can use virtually any water source, including salt water. Testing was conducted in fiscal year 2004. Production is scheduled to begin during the second quarter of fiscal year 2005.


The aviation vibration analyzer (AVA) II will provide a rugged, portable and safe means of performing helicopter maintenance for both main and tail rotors. It will measure, record and process vibration and blade position information to diagnose and correct rotor vibration-related faults. Procurement of a new aviation vibration analyzer is based on vibration management enhancement program technology. The circuit card assembly of the current system is outdated. Procurement of the new system will begin in the third quarter of fiscal year 2005.


The digital aircraft weight scale (DAWS) is a nondevelopmental, commercial off-the-shelf item available through the General Services Administration. It is structured to provide a lightweight, man-portable scale that gives aviation unit maintenance and aviation intermediate maintenance organizations the capability to weigh Army helicopters without first leveling the aircraft. This speeds weighing and deployment operations. Production and fielding of the DAWS was completed in fiscal year 2003.


Nondestructive test equipment (NDTE) is a set of four electronic test instruments that can be used to inspect aircraft components and structures for defects, corrosion or the presence of foreign objects without having to completely disassemble or remove components from the aircraft. Each set consists of one industrial X-ray, two eddy current testers, two harmonic bond testers and two ultrasonic testers.

The NDTE is a commercial off-the-shelf item procured either through an Air Force-Navy contract or directly from the manufacturer. Because of obsolescence, the eddy current testers, harmonic bond testers and ultrasonic testers were replaced between fiscal years 2003 and 2004.

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