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NEWS | Jan. 11, 2021

Team repairs laser-based training tools, warfighters hone combat skills

By Ms. Jacqueline Boucher

Warfighters use laser-based training tools repaired at Tobyhanna Army Depot to hone their combat skills.

Personnel started restoring nonfunctional Instrumentable-Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (I-MILES) tactical vehicle assets in July; meanwhile the man-worn equipment workload [here since 2018] was moved to a central facility in Kentucky.

Military members have come to rely on organic industrial base experts to arm them with mission capable I-MILES training devices. Incoming vehicle assets include Tactical Vehicle Systems, Wireless Independent Target System, Combat Vehicle Tactical Engagement Simulation System and MILES XXI.

“We have a great team supporting this mission,” said Electronics Mechanic Jeff Fitch, a work leader who has been part of the I-MILES program since the beginning. “Tobyhanna provides the workspace and manpower to make the repairs. Lockheed Martin provides what we need to do the job.”

Fitch is responsible for making sure the C4ISR Directorate’s I-MILES Branch employees supporting the mission can meet customer requirements. Tobyhanna technicians repair what is broken then test and inspect the assets before being sent back to the users, he said.

Two years ago, Tobyhanna joined forces with Lockheed Martin under the Army Training Aids, Devices, Simulators, Simulations, Maintenance Program’s seven-year multi-million-dollar contract to form the largest public-private partnership in the depot’s history.

“Our function is to make sure Tobyhanna technicians can be successful,” said Mike Kleiber, site lead for Lockheed Martin. He explained that the private-sector business manages the funding, provides specialized tools and handles all shipping and receiving. “We’ve received exceptional support from Tobyhanna. As a team we’ve been able to produce quality assets that benefit the Soldier.”

The I-MILES branch chief applauds team members for stepping up to the challenge of repairing the different assets. Terri Callaghan also commends the strong working relationship between Tobyhanna Army Depot and Lockheed Martin. As the branch transitioned from man-worn to vehicle assets, leadership was able to implement a few changes to streamline work flow.

“This team is awesome,” Callaghan said, adding that she is new to the position and hoping to learn as much as she can during her tenure as branch chief. “Everyone is proactive and willing to do whatever it takes to meet the customer’s needs. For instance, everyone cross-trained so they could respond to work on all the assets, which gets the systems out the door faster.”

Work on laser-based training tools is scheduled until fiscal year 2025, according to the contract.

I-MILES gear is used by the U.S. military and other armed forces around the world for training purposes. It uses lasers and blank cartridges to simulate actual battle. Vehicles are typically outfitted with individual wireless detectors or a belt of laser sensors. Laser emitters are attached to the rifles’ barrels and the laser receptors on the Soldiers’ helmets and harnesses. According to the Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation website, I-MILES devices are approved for use at home station, the combat training centers and in the theater of operations. The current “Instrumentable” MILES replaces the previously fielded “Basic” MILES, which cannot integrate into training instrumentation systems. The I-MILES program is comprised of five product lines: Individual Weapon System, Tactical Vehicle System, Combat Vehicle System, Shoulder Launched Munitions and Universal Controller Device.