Air Force asks TFAB Defense Systems to maintain and upgrade VDATS depot-level avionics test system

VDATS is the Air Force's depot-level avionics automatic test and measurement system, with a modular, open architecture design for electronic testing.

Vdats 8 Aug 2019

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – U.S. Air Force test and measurement experts needed a company to maintain and upgrade the Air Force's Versatile Depot Automatic Test Station (VDATS) family of electronics testers. They found their solution from at TFAB Defense Systems LLC in Warner Robins, Ga.

Officials of the Air Force Sustainment Center at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., announced an $8.9 million contract to TFAB Defense Systems on Wednesday to develop software and test hardware for VDATS. The software and hardware will help VDATS isolate failures within avionics line replaceable units and shop replaceable units.

VDATS is the Air Force member of the U.S. military families-of-testers and is the Air Force's directed and preferred automatic test solution. The VDATS station has a modular, open architecture design and is adaptable to most electronic testing needs.

It was designed originally for depot testing capabilities, but it soon will put into use at electronics intermediate maintenance departments under controlled conditions at U.S. military bases. Manufacturing and maintaining the VDATS are experts at the WR Air Logistics Complex at Warner Robins Air Force base, and at the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Tobyhanna, Pa.

The depot-level tester comes in two core configurations: the digital analog (DA)-1 version to handle most analog and light digital electronics equipment, and the DA-2 station for enhanced digital testing for more advanced avionic testing requirements. The system also has a RF roll-up assembly for standard RF testing.

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The VDATS design enables modular capability enhancements with mission equipment support sets for small augmentations or roll-up bays for larger augmentations that are portable among the core stations.

This design preserves the station's configuration while providing the ability to adapt to different workload requirements. The Air Force operates 150 VDATS stations.

Before VDATS became the Air Force's standard test system in 2007, technicians at Robins Air Logistics Center needed 268 legacy testers to test the different weapons systems and aircraft components. Legacy testers were difficult and expensive to maintain, repair parts for the testers were unavailable, and the number of workers who knew how to use the legacy testers was diminishing.

The hardware and software design and construction of the VDATS was all completed at Robins through a partnership between hardware and software engineers from the 402nd Electronics Maintenance Group and the 402nd Software Maintenance Group. Naming VDATS to the Air Force family of testers means designers of new weapon systems first must examine VDATS first as a test system.

On this contract TFAB will do the work at Warner Robins, Ga., and should be finished by August 2022. For more information contact TFAB Defense Systems online at www.tyonek.com/business-services/manufacturing/tfab-defense-systems, or Air Force Sustainment Center at www.afsc.af.mil.

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