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NEWS | Sept. 3, 2020

Tobyhanna expands Nett Warrior support, improves Soldier experience

By Ms. Danielle E. Weinschenk

Tobyhanna Army Depot now fabricates a new type of cable that furthers its support of a critical Soldier communication system.

The depot recently stood up capability for production of flat cables for the Nett Warrior program. Nett Warrior is a smartphone-based system that provides situational awareness to dismounted Soldiers during combat operations. The program arrived at the depot in 2012 and, since then, engineers have designed more than 70 cables to support the system.  Because the system is worn by Soldiers in the battlefield, ergonomics is key.

“The flat design of this cable will make the system more comfortable for Soldiers when they use Nett Warrior,” said Stanley Czock, lead engineer for the program. “The new cables also eliminate the likelihood of snagging in the field by holding more tightly to the vest. Both of these improvements directly benefit Soldiers.”

Production of the flat cables is aided by two new machines, a computer numerical control (CNC) sewing machine and a laser cutting machine. The machines allow for tighter stitching and the fabrication of scalloped tabs, which slide into the MOLLE system on the system’s Modular Scalable Vest and allow for a 90 degree bend in the cable without performance problems – another significant improvement for the end user. The equipment also allows for fabrication of conformal battery pouches and antenna mast holders, items used extensively by Soldiers when wearing Nett Warrior.

Acquisition of the new equipment is part of a larger effort to expand capability in the depot’s Systems Integration and Support directorate. The effort stems from Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic initiative, Toby 2028.

"Modernizing the shops with newer technology allows us to explore previously unreachable opportunities for customer and product support with the added benefit of remaining competitive.  Anywhere there is an opportunity to improve our capabilities, we have a Toby 2028 team looking into it and how it will shape our future," said Michael Vivlemore, Lead for the Toby 2028 line of effort focused on technology impacts.

Depot personnel also worked closely with engineers from the U.S Army Sustainment Command’s Packaging, Storage and Containerization Center to perform extensive testing on the new cable prior to launch. They say this proactive approach is crucial to ensuring project success.

“Upfront testing allows us to ensure our product will meet warfighter requirements. It also allows us to address any potential defects before the product reaches the battlefield,” Czock said. “All in all, we’re thrilled to support a project that helps make life easier for the warfighter.”

Personnel from the Production Management directorate’s Sustainment Planning Division (SPD) say this new capability may also lead to additional workload for the depot.

“The addition of the CNC and laser-cutting machine greatly enhance the depot’s ability to adapt and support evolving Soldier requirements. We have seen interest from customers for new workload as a direct result of this new capability,” said Tracy Kraftchisin, a Logistics Management Specialist (LMS) in SPD. Fellow LMS Michelle Reese agreed.

“Right now, we are working on a Public Private Partnership (P3) with Microsoft in support of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS). Under this P3, we have the potential to fabricate different types of cables for IVAS, a workload that falls under the Army Futures Command and represents an exciting opportunity for Team Tobyhanna.”

Depot personnel say the Nett Warrior program is planned through 2025 and will result in more than 200,000 cables for service members.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 4,000 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.