402nd EMXG upgrades equipment for future

  • Published
  • By Jonathan Bell
  • Robins Public Affairs

The Air Force is working to replace all of its older aircraft electronics test equipment, and that’s where the Versatile Depot Automatic Test Station built at Robins Air Force Base comes in.

“VDATS is replacing 61 different tester systems across the Department of Defense, as well as many of the new systems for aircraft such as the F-22,” said Michael Griger, VDATS planner, 402nd Engineering Support Branch.

The first eight VDATS stations were built in 2007, and Robins is set to ship out its 100th unit this year. In the decade that the systems have been in existence, there have been Digital Analog and Radio Frequency versions built, as well as more than 1,700 test programs written for the VDATS.

John Fullington, 402nd Engineering Support Branch electronics technician, said that because VDATS is upgradable, it’s expected to last much longer than the typical one to five years of general electronics.

“I would think that VDATS could be around for 30 to 40 years. Whereas we have to replace an entire old system, we can change out pieces of the VDATS with off-the-shelf parts.”

At this time, anyone in the DOD who uses an aircraft electronics tester who is not a VDATS system needs to justify why they’re not using the current system.

“It is the tester of choice in the DOD,” Fullington said.