Test chambers collaborate to meet demands

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Christine Saunders
  • Air Force Test Center

Anechoic chambers are used to characterize the performance of offensive and defensive Electromagnetic Spectrum technologies. Their ability to isolate and control the EMS enable them to make them the most accurate threat representative environments in the test and training enterprise.

The Air Force Test Center operates two anechoic chambers with overlapping missions, Joint Preflight Integration of Munitions and Electronic Systems at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and the Benefield Anechoic Facility here.

Recent chamber collaboration for a test at J-PRIMES demonstrated this mission overlap. The Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force tested an Angry Kitten Electronic Countermeasures Training Pod on an F-16 aircraft assigned to the 53rd Wing at Eglin, Oct. 18 - Nov. 5. 

The existing J-PRIMES target generator was unable to meet the test programs objectives, which is why the BAF stepped in to assist.

“In today’s funding and resource constrained environment, test facilities have to get creative,” said Ronald Vanderkooy,  Installed Systems Test Flight chief. “It makes sense to leverage available resources such as the Advanced Radar Environment Simulator from the BAF to meet this test program’s technical requirement, and possibly more in the future.”

The goal of the test was to characterize interoperability of the Angry Kitten with other F-16 systems like Fire Control Radar, making BAF support with the ARES necessary.

“With the one-team, one fight approach to test, the BAF was willing and able to partner with the J-PRIMES team and provided the ARES capability and associated expertise to successfully execute the test and achieve their test objectives.” said Gerry Van Peteghem, BAF chief engineer.

Using the ARES allowed for presentation of a representative target to the F-16 modernized Fire Control Radar. 

“With both chambers' demand surpassing capacity, and the rising costs of test-technologies, the collaboration between J-PRIMES and the BAF is essential in supporting acquisition program demands and providing representative test environments for the warfighter,” said John Grigaliunas, AFTC technical advisor.