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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Some of the greatest engineers in the world gathered in the Gateway City this week for the IEEE Autotest. It’s a conference sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

“The problem is that too many people are enamored with the prime equipment, the fighter aircraft and the fire controlled radar and the missiles,” says Bob Rassa, IEEE Chairman.  “They don’t think that the test systems that support it are just as sophisticated.”

Bob Rassa should know.  He’s the Director of Engineering programs for Raytheon and an organizer of the event.

This marks the 50th year for the conference, which began in St. Louis started by Emerson Electric and then McDonnell Aircraft.

“We refer to the maintainers that support the weapon systems as the war fighters because they’re on the pointy end of the spear when it comes to maintenance,” says Chris Clendenin, the Boeing Director of Support Systems and Services.

This week Boeing is unveiling their new test system also known as BMATS designed, devolved and produced here in St. Louis.

It will be used to support the Boeing avionics repair and overhaul facility in the South Korean peninsula.

“It can support things like fire controlled radar, electronic warfare gear, communication gear, displays in things like cockpits, and things like that,” says Clendenin.

The conference is a chance to show off the support systems for the U.S. military and foreign military that buy U.S. products, bringing the user and suppliers together under one America’s Center roof.

More simply put, these are the men and women who like to tinker and take things apart.

“I really appreciate the high technology that exists in this hall, and there’s a lot of it,” adds Rassa.

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