The Navy’s next generation of aviation-support equipment took a major step toward reality after recently completing its Critical Design Review (CDR).

The electronic Consolidated Automated Support System, or eCASS, is a technologically advanced, automatic test system that is planned to replace all mainframe CASS systems throughout the Navy.

“eCASS will replace the aging mainframe CASS systems with a modern technology system that will maintain all current test/repair capabilities while providing for reuse of approximately 700 CASS Test Program Sets,” said Capt. Fred Hepler, program manager for the Aviation Support Equipment program office (PMA-260). “ECASS will also provide the ability to rapidly infuse future platform technologies [via an open architecture] to support emerging weapon system test requirements.”

The CDR assesses the system’s performance and engineering requirements and supports the program’s design readiness review. The eCASS CDR was completed Jan. 25 at the Orlando, Fla., offices of Lockheed Martin Global Training and Logistics, the prime contractor.

“Successful completion of the critical design review is another key step in commitment to delivering the required capability on cost and on schedule,” Hepler said. “By using a focused risk-based approach, the team is leveraging rigorous program management and systems-engineering processes that enable the government and industry partnership to succeed.”

This key review was eight months after the system‘s preliminary design review and was an opportunity for the NAVAIR Technical Review Board (TRB) to review the system design, with particular focus on hardware and software integration and program risks.

“This review went very smoothly,” said Rich Muir, TRB chairman. “The eCASS design demonstrated the appropriate readiness and maturity for a NAVAIR Systems Engineering Critical Design Review.”

This review marks the completion of system design and allows the program to move forward with manufacturing and software coding efforts.

The first eCASS engineering design model is scheduled for delivery in Florida in the spring.

eCASS is scheduled to complete testing and achieve Initial Operating Capability, or operational use, in 2016.