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NEWS | June 15, 2022

Bridge Supplemental Set workload shows Tobyhanna’s diverse capabilities

By Mr. Justin Kucharski

Bridge Supplemental Set workload shows Tobyhanna’s diverse capabilities | Article | The United States Army

The Bridge Supplemental Set (BSS) is a system designed to assist Bridge Erection Boats (BEB) on long-term bridging missions while our warfighters are on deployment. The widely used BSS concept dates back to the 1960s.

In certain situations, the BSS is pivotal to keeping soldiers focused on the task at hand. In the event a river must be crossed, BEBs would be brought in to build a surface that can be crossed by our warfighters. However, on long-term missions, BEBs can become expensive to maintain and take a lot of time to operate, affecting warfighter readiness.

This is where the BSS comes in.

The erection of a BSS over a body of water keeps the traveling surface in place and eliminates the need for BEBs on long-term missions. This supports our warfighters by allowing them not to worry about BEB upkeep and allows them to focus on their primary mission.

With ever changing challenges on the battlefield, the way the BSS is designed was due for an upgrade, so a set for the modern era has been created. Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) has taken on the exciting challenge of constructing and delivering this new design to our warfighters and with it, comes the opportunity to not only benefit TYAD, but more importantly to assist in our mission of supporting the warfighter.

Logistics Management Specialist Tracy Kraftchisin worked with Production Engineering personnel to solicit and onboard the workload. Before obtaining the workload, TYAD first had to compete in a market questionnaire. The depot received formal notification that it was chosen to support the BSS in May 2019. The design, development and pre-production process was lengthy, as the asset comprises more than 20 cases of equipment containing almost 400 individual pieces - everything from shadowboxes, racks, casing and much more.

Kraftchisin said the opportunity to work on the BSS provided many benefits to TYAD.

“This was an opportunity to showcase TYAD’s test engineering, design development and fabrication in support of overhaul capabilities to expand sustainment operations for the BSS - ensuring support to both strategic and tactical Army readiness,” said Kraftchisin. “The BSS workload presented an excellent strategic opportunity for Team Tobyhanna in support of our TOBY 2028 Shape the Future efforts.” Kraftchisin works in the Strategic Initiatives Office.

Although the overall BSS design wasn’t created by TYAD, many of the asset’s components were designed by depot engineers. Producing the BSS kits is a complex process, involving numerous production shops in the Systems Integration and Support Directorate and spanning more than 3,488 hours.

The BSS workload is a unique one for TYAD as it comes from the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM). Mechanical Engineer Joseph Samsell has been heavily involved with the workload ever since TYAD took it on and said that our ability to get the work done proves that the depot is capable of accepting diverse types of work.

“Taking on new and challenging missions demonstrates to our current and future customers that Team Tobyhanna is capable of supporting any warfighter requirement,” said Samsell.

Logistics Management Specialist Christopher Lupole agreed, saying that the depot has much to offer its customers.

“The successful completion of the BSS effort at TYAD has brought more notice to the depot's overall life cycle logistics capabilities. Most potential customers that aren't too familiar with TYAD hear the word ‘Depot’ and tend to think of us as a warehouse or strictly maintenance facility. In reality, TYAD has much more to offer potential customers.” said Lupole.

“BSS has put [our] additional capabilities at the forefront and allows the rest of the Department of Defense community to see how supportive TYAD can be for their weapon systems. In the end, our mission is to support the Warfighter to the best of our ability and BSS is only one great example of how TYAD has done that in recent years.” Lupole works in Tobyhanna’s Strategic Initiatives Office and is part of the team responsible for onboarding new workload.

The BSS program is expected to run through 2028. BSS Project Manager Stacey Taylor lauded the people behind BSS, emphasizing that their teamwork really helped push this workload past the finish line.

“[The] BSS [workload] has proved that unity is strength and when there is teamwork and most importantly collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved. I am proud to be part of such a talented, hardworking, & motivated organization,” said Taylor. “The BSS system will showcase the capabilities that TYAD has to offer to future customers. Team Tobyhanna is dedicated to our warfighter and we look forward to the future.”

The workload is directly aligned with Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2028, which has four focus areas: Investing in Our People, C5ISR Readiness, Shape the Future and Strategic Communications. TOBY2028 aims to posture the depot for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense's premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

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 3,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, 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.