11/30/2007 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CA -- The 418th Flight
Test Squadron and 772nd Test Squadron recently began testing
the ALR-56M radar warning receiver in the C-130J Hercules at
the Benefield Anechoic Facility here.
The purpose of the tests is to ensure deficiencies identified
in earlier tests have been corrected in the ALR-56M and to further
integrate the receiver with the other onboard emitters, said
Lt. Col. David Coppler, 772nd TS commander.
"The ALR-56M is the newest version in the radar warning
receiver series," Colonel Coppler said. "It detects
radio frequency energy hitting the aircraft, which could be
from any type of radar. Most importantly, it allows the aircrew
to know if they are being targeted by a surface-to-air missile
or air-to-air missile. This provides situational awareness to
take action against an oncoming missile."
Radar warning receivers are on most Air Force aircraft, he
said. Specifically, the ALR-56M is equipped on the F-16 Fighting
Falcon Block 40 and 50 aircraft.
Colonel Coppler said the receiver is important to the warfighter
because aircrew need to know when they are in danger.
"A properly integrated receiver will work with the countermeasures
dispensing system to automatically dispense chaff and flares
according to a pre-programmed automated sequence," he said.
"The crew doesn't have to do anything in many cases. So
they can continue their mission with the confidence that the
system is working properly to defeat enemy radars."
The testers' goal is to ensure the system detects the threats
they simulate at the proper ranges and doesn't display a threat
outside of lethal range, he said. If the threat is too far out,
the aircrew doesn't need to know about it because it's not a
true threat to the mission.
One of the problems when testing a radar warning receiver in
the open air is the large number of signals in the atmosphere
such as other radars, cell phones and many other types of radio
frequency emissions, said Col. Joe Nichols, 412th Electronic
Warfare Group commander.
"When we bring an aircraft in the BAF, we can isolate
it and have an environment that has only the frequencies we
want in the chamber," Colonel Nichols said. "We have
spent a lot of money over the years to develop simulators that
can produce the exact same types of signals that other radar
types may produce. We can see if the aircraft senses them correctly
and reacts accordingly."
In conjunction with the receiver tests, the 772nd TS is also
conducting design of experiments tests, Colonel Coppler said.
It will allow the squadron to look at how well they can apply
design of experiments methodologies to ground testing and hopefully
refine that process to make testing more efficient in the future.
"One of the great things that has happened at Edwards
over the past couple of years is the utilization of the BAF
has gone up dramatically," Colonel Nichols said. "We
had a large workforce here to bring this aircraft in. We have
an outstanding group of engineers and technicians that operate
this facility. I'm very proud of the work that the 772nd TS
and the 418th FLTS has accomplished together here."
Because of safety issues, every aircraft that enters the BAF
must have its fuel emptied, Colonel Coppler said. If there is
a fire in the BAF, fuel in the aircraft could potentially worsen
To place the C-130 inside, crews also removed the radar absorbent
material covering the floor of the chamber, rolled the aircraft
in place and put the materials back down, Colonel Nichols said.
The Benefield Anechoic Facility is the largest anechoic chamber
in the world, he said. It allows crews to test all of the sensors
on an aircraft in a controlled environment so they can understand
the responses as well as the environment.
Source: USAF Press Release by Senior Airman Jason Hernandez