The US Army has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman for the Next Generation Automatic Test System (NGATS) to provide military test sustainment support for all of the Army’s weapons systems.

The NGATS will standardise and lower the quantity of the Army’s automatic test equipment (ATE) to one tester, which in turn reduces the logistics load for ATE systems.

The test equipment complies with Joint NxTest architecture, and will replace three existing test platforms – the DSESTS, BSTF (V) 3, and BSTF (V) 5 in three increments.

DSESTS will be replaced during the NGATS first increment, which supports the weapons systems in the heavy brigade combat team (HBCT). All military vehicles including Abrams and Bradley will then be tested with NGATS.

The second increment replaces BSTF (V) 3 and supports the MLRS, Avenger, Paladin, Kiowa Warrior, Ground Based Sensor and other systems.

The third increment replaces BSTF (V) 5 and supports the Kiowa Warrior and Apache.

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Work under the $12.6m contract will be carried out in Illinois and is expected to be complete by April 2011.