VDATS #109 ships out

  • Published
  • By Jonathan Bell
  • Robins Air Force Base Public Affairs

Versatile Depot Automatic Test Station #109 is complete and ready to be shipped out from Robins Air Force Base to support maintenance on B-1B Lancer bomber aircraft.

VDATS #109 is the last machine in a program intended to create an in-house depot-level tester to replace more than 60 different legacy aircraft avionics tester systems across the Department of Defense, and, with this machine, that initial program has come to an end.

But, according to George Tribble, depot Automatic Test Systems program office chief, the VDATS systems are continuing to expand.

 “That’s the great thing about VDATS, its capabilities are so expansive because of the modularity, it can continue to grow.”

 “Virtually all depot-level workloads can come to it, and adding one more workload to VDATS is no big deal,” Tribble added. “We’ve already got the infrastructure in place so we can retire all those old legacy systems and bring on the VDATS.”

Over the last 11 years the program has generated over 250,000 labor hours and created many jobs, from software and electronic engineers to workload planners and logistics managers.

Larry Adams, principle system engineer for VDATS family of testers, has been working on the VDATS program since it began and said #109 is just the end of the initial depot transformation program, not the end of the overall program.

 “We are going to continue to build VDATS by demand,” said Adams. “We still have new customers coming in to have them built.”

Being involved with the VDATS program from its inception in 2007 and seeing the end of the initial production run 11 years later holds special meaning for Adams.

“It does give me a sense of personal accomplishment, but it’s a great sense of corporate accomplishment because I didn’t do this on my own.”

“There were many software engineers, inventory managers and equipment specialists, all these job fields out there supporting and trying to make this thing work in a DOD environment. Like I said, there’s a great feeling of personal accomplishment,” Adams added.

VDATS currently supports over 2,000 Test Program Sets on avionics systems across multiple platforms in the Air Force, Navy and Army. Through the efforts of the team at Robins, VDATS should continue to be one of the primary aircraft electronics testers in the DOD for years to come.