The US Army has received the first next generation automatic test system (NGATS) delivered by Northrop Grumman in partnership with DRS Technologies.

The delivery follows a low rate initial production (LRIP) contract awarded by the US Army’s Program Executive Office for Combat Support & Combat Service Support to Northrop-led team in 2010 for a total of eight LRIP configuration NGATS including spares.

Northrop Grumman’s Land and Self Protection Systems Division vice president of communications, intelligence and networking solutions, Kay Burch, said: "NGATS will provide the latest technology and improved weapons maintenance support to our nation’s warfighters."

The mobile, rapidly deployable and reconfigurable general purpose automatic test system suite is intended as a replacement of the US Army’s earlier generation integrated family of test equipment (IFTE) and the direct support electrical system test set (DSESTS) test systems.

Backward compatible with legacy IFTE versions, the system provides unit-level through depot-level maintenance testing and screening of sophisticated electronic and electro-optical weapon systems.

Initially, NGATS will be used to test the Abrams / Bradley heavy combat vehicles’ electronics and weapon systems. It will also be used to support Stryker depot efforts that will commence in 2012.

Capable of supporting the common remotely operated weapon station, Kiowa Warrior helicopters and missile launchers, NGATS will also be used on a range of other existing and future weapon systems in follow-on phases.

In 2011, Northrop conducted the system’s Limited User Testing that was administered by the Army Test and Evaluation Command at Fort Stewart, Georgia, US.

DRS and Northrop had teamed for the programme over a decade ago to provide the US Army with one combined NGATS solution.