Soldiers with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion (2-3 GSAB), 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade (3rd CAB), 3rd Infantry Division receive new equipment training for system familiarization and proficiency on the Global Combat Support System Increment 2 – Army (GCSS-A) at Fort Lee, Virginia before operational testing begins. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tyler Miller, GCSS-A NCOIC, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

By Mr. Scott Uini, Enterprise & Mission Command Test Division, Mission Command Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command

FORT LEE, Virginia — Soldiers from Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia conducted the first tests here on a new system focused on improving readiness through modernizing aviation maintenance and logistics functions.

“The Global Combat Support System Increment 2 – Army (GCSS-A) focuses on improving Army aviation’s the legacy logistics and sustainment systems,” said Maj. Andrew J. Johnson, a test officer with the Mission Command Test Directorate (MCTD) of the Fort Hood, Texas-based U.S. Army Operational Test Command (OTC).

Troops with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion (2-3 GSAB), 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade (3rd CAB), 3rd Infantry Division are playing a critical role, according to Johnson.

“Leveraging their training and experience provides the Army with an honest look at how the system will perform,” he said.

“This test aims at gathering data and feedback from the Soldiers to help Army leaders make informed fielding decisions for GCSS-A.”

Mission partners backing the test with their support included representatives from the Army Futures Command (AFC), Aviation Enablers-Requirements Determination Division (AE-RDD), Army Evaluation Center (AEC), Aviation Center of Excellence, Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM), Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), Electronic Proving Ground (EPG), the National Guard Bureau, and Product Manager GCSS-Army (PdM GCSS-Army).

Capt. David J. Johnson, test operations officer with OTC’s Aviation Test Directorate (AVTD), said all players worked with key elements from the Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) to evaluate the according to Army needs.

“This was a collaborative effort where all the teams came together to leverage each other’s expertise and synchronize efforts for the test event,” he said.

The aviation captain said the initial test paves the way for eventual final GCSS-A testing during the summer at Hunter Army Airfield with the same 2-3 GSAB Soldiers.

“While executing operations under real-world flight demands, the ATEC team plans to capture additional performance data on the system,” he said.

~~

About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:

As the Army’s only independent operational tester, USAOTC tests Army, joint, multi-service, and multi-domain warfighting systems in realistic operational environments; using skilled Soldiers to provide data on whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. USAOTC is required by public law to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer — the American Soldier.

OTC’s Mission Command Test Directorate tests systems for a net-centric environment that will process and transmit voice, data, messaging and video information through networks at the tactical, operational, strategic and sustaining base levels.

OTC’s Aviation Test Directorate at West Fort Hood, Texas, plans and conducts operational tests and reports on manned and unmanned aviation-related equipment to include attack, reconnaissance, cargo and lift helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, tactical trainers, ground support equipment, and aviation countermeasure systems.