NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, RIVIÈRE PATUXENT, Md.– The Common Aviation Support Equipment Program Office (PMA-260) Onboard Aircraft Manager (SAH) was first used in an operational environment aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in June .
Senior Support Test Engineers from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) joined the crew aboard CVN 75 to perform SAH operational environment tests, which were conducted to assess the SAH. The SAH replaces the old on-board manipulator, the tracking trolley, which has been in use for around 35 years. SAH’s mission is to seize, lift and tow Navy and Marine Corps aircraft in hangars.
“After many years, the Navy decided to procure a new replacement Flight Manager to continue the mission at the speed of technology. The SAH is intended to replace the tracking trolley on board the ship, ”said Tom Tuominen, engineer in charge of support testing of the PMA-260.
In keeping with the pace of today’s technology, the new version of the tracking cart uses wireless communication. The SAH features rocker and joystick controls that are operated directly by the sailor with little or no lag between the Bluetooth controls and the machine. It also has the ability to maneuver tightly around obstacles in the hangar area.
“Great things in business are never accomplished by one individual. They are made by a team of people. The SAH team met all challenges head-on and crossed all obstacles, to include the pandemic, supply chain logistics issues and the shortage of workers in the industry, ”said Cmdr. Kevin Bittle, co-leader of the SAH team.
Bittle’s co-lead civilian David Sutherland echoed his team-centric sentiment: “Even with thousands of miles between our industrial partners and Patuxent River, the SAH team has never lost sight of it. his commitment to the effort. We still have some work to do, but everyone knows their role, all have been performed and we are looking forward to the finished product.
In the event that wireless connectivity cannot be used, the SAH can also be controlled with the same control panel, but connected to the manager itself via a tether. This backup option ensures that the SAH can be used regardless of the conditions present in an operational environment.
“The PMA-260 program office provides the fleet with common aviation support equipment for the use of our Sailors and Marines. With the tests on board the SAH, we are getting one step closer to replacing the current aircraft spotting cart with a unit that is more intuitive and safer for users to use, ”said Captain Robert Burgess, PMA-260 program manager. .
Test engineers gathered feedback from sailors aboard CVN 75 and used that feedback in making changes to the final design of the SAH.
The Common Aviation Support Equipment Program Office (PMA-260) manages the procurement, development and commissioning of common ground support equipment and automatic test equipment that supports each type / model / series of aircraft within the naval aviation company. PMA-260 leads the development and maintenance of the Naval Aviation Support Equipment (SE) Support Equipment Program investment strategy / process oversight to ensure optimization of support, development of requirements common support equipment and SE standardization in naval aviation.