|Standard Automotive Tool Set: More Than
Just an Improved Common Set
|by Charissa Nichole Gray
Unit mechanics must have their tools at hand
to be able to keep unit vehicles operational. In the past,
two tool sets provided most of these tools—Shop Equipment,
Automotive, Maintenance and Repair, Organizational Maintenance,
Common Number 1 and Common Number 2. These sets were not containerized
and could come packaged in as many as 75 crates. Units had
to purchase tool chests and cabinets for organizing the tools.
The tools often became jumbled in drawers, making it difficult
to find the ones needed to perform a task.
Recognizing the problems that the available tool sets presented,
the Office of the Chief of Ordnance, under the leadership of
Major General Mitchell H. Stevenson (now the commanding general
of the Army Combined Arms Support Command), initiated the development
of an improved, containerized tool set. Developed by the Product
Manager, Sets, Kits, Outfits, and Tools (PM SKOT), the resulting
set is known as the Standard Automotive Tool Set (SATS).
SATS is a containerized shop set system that consists of
a core set and supplemental modules that can be added to
a unit’s specific maintenance mission. It replaces the
most common organizational and direct support tool sets. SATS
provides a more deployable, mobile, and mission-capable tool
load that supports Army transformation and two-level maintenance.
By providing the warfighter with a common tool set, SATS
enables maintainers to perform two-level maintenance and
all military vehicles and ground support equipment. It is
easier to inventory, transport, and use than were the old
SATS offers the following improvements—
Lifetime warranty on
Industrial quality tools.
Elimination of 474 redundant and obsolete components (5 sets).
Rapid inventory system.
Secure, protected container.
Rapid deployment capability.
Responsive and rapid tool replacement procedures.
PM SKOT worked with users to determine which tools were not used,
which ones were essential, and what tools needed to be added to
the set. The process of evaluating
the tools involved five tool reviews in which each tool in the
Common Number 1 and Common Number 2 tool sets, the Mechanical Maintenance
Tool Set, and the Automotive Maintenance and Field Repair Basic
Tool Set and its supplement were documented and evaluated.
Tool reviews began in June 2000 with the Common Number 1 tool set.
A team of technical maintenance specialists, representatives from
heavy to light maintenance Army units, the Army Combined Arms Support
Command, the Army Ordnance Center and School, the Army Armament
Research, Development, and Engineering Center, and PM SKOT conducted
the review. The user representatives provided input on which tools
they never used, which tools they could not live without, and which
tools they wished they had. The evaluation process was by no means
a smooth one, and it required concessions from user communities.
However, the overall result enabled PM SKOT to develop the core
SATS: a tool set comprised of common tools found across the various
automotive tool sets. Two field maintenance modules were designed
to supplement the base SATS by providing the additional tools needed
to perform heavy direct support maintenance missions.
One goal during SATS development was to organize SATS so that
it was easier for maintenance Soldiers to inventory, transport,
use. This required reducing the space needed to store the tools
and making them easier to find. With SATS, tools come to the
user in tool cabinets that include PM SKOT’s standard foam
cutout organization system. This makes SATS much more user friendly
the old automotive tool sets.
By creating an organized tool set in a single container, PM SKOT
also solved mobility problems. SATS can be transported by a single
prime mover. It is more portable than its predecessors and can
be deployed quickly with minimal preparation.
|Tools in the
Standard Automotive Tool Set (SATS) come stored in
container. The inset shows the storage configuration
of the SATS container.
Over 40 hours were needed to inventory the old
maintenance shop sets. With SATS, that effort has been reduced
to 2 hours—a substantial time saving. Because the tools are kept
in drawers with foam cutouts that give the tools specific storage
locations, inventory is as easy as opening a drawer and looking
for empty slots.
SATS comes with a laminated tool inventory guide and supply catalog.
The supply catalog is organized to mirror the configuration of
the SATS drawer
and includes color photographs of each item.
SATS is a durable, long-lasting system because the tools and
equipment it contains are industrial quality and have lifetime warranties.
tools hold up better to the constant wear of maintenance activities,
but, if they happen to break, the warranty ensures their replacement.
Another great feature about SATS is its flexibility. SATS can
be tailored to each unit’s specific mission by combining the core
SATS and the appropriate version of the two field maintenance
modules. The core SATS provides the two-level maintenance capability
need to maintain their equipment. It consolidates tools from
the Common Number 1, Common Number 2, Vehicle Full Tracked Tool
Set, and Battalion
Maintenance Team Tool Set.
When combined with the core SATS, Field Maintenance Module 1
provides the capabilities for heavy direct support maintenance found in
Field Maintenance Sets A31 and A52. Field Maintenance Module 2 adds to
the heavy direct support maintenance by adding capabilities found in Field
Maintenance Supplement A62.
SATS transportation requirements are far fewer than those of
the Common Number 1 or Common
Number 2 tool sets, which, with supplemental sets, could require
up to five prime movers. Whether transporting SATS by trailer
or on a flatrack, only one prime mover is needed—even with the
additional modules included.
By eliminating redundancy, PM SKOT made SATS into a streamlined
lightweight tool set,
weighing 13,620 pounds
and taking up less than 700 cubic feet of space (compared to
a combined total of 39,750 pounds and 2,186 cubic feet for the
replaced tool sets). SATS frees up precious space and weight,
allowing units to
either reduce their total transportation weight and cube requirements
or take additional equipment.
When a SATS tool breaks, the unit gets a new one. By using
the PM SKOT warranty Web site to request a replacement, the
correct tool is replaced, the warranty on that item continues, and
set configuration is not degraded. A unit can submit a warranty
claim at http://pmskot.army.mil.
Once the claim is validated, the item is immediately sent to
SATS was released for fielding in November 2005. Fifty-three
SATSs have been fielded, and nearly 20 more are scheduled to
be fielded by the end of January.
SATS is currently being used in real-world scenarios at the
National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, and in
Soldiers are happy to be receiving new tools that are easily
inventoried and transported. The response from the units that
have received SATS has been overwhelmingly positive. As constructive
feedback comes in, PM SKOT will continue to evaluate the user’s
concerns and make appropriate changes.
Charissa Nichole Gray is a technical writer for the Product
Manager, Sets, Kits, Outfits, and Tools, at the Army Tank-automotive
and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command.
She has a B.A. degree in English from New Mexico State University
and an M.S. degree in organizational leadership from St. Ambrose
The author would like to thank the Standard Automotive Tool
Set team for their contributions to this article.