Innovative customized tools for BAF customers

  • Published
  • By John Grigaliunas
  • 412th Test Wing, Benefield Anechoic Facility chief

Each test customer at the Benefield Anechoic Facility is unique, bringing in one-of-a-kind new challenges. Customer-driven test designs require our BAF engineers to embrace innovation to solve complex engineering problems. Engineers at the BAF are building customized tools to deliver data quickly and accurately, providing decision quality information to customers.

Recently, Robert Parsons, a simulation engineer at the BAF, was able to turn a hardware asset into a fully functional test capability. A test program wanted to utilize a common Identify Friend or Foe test set as a staple in AIMS (Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System, Identification Friend or Foe, Mark XII/Mark XIIA, Systems) certification testing. This hardware asset had the ability to display data, but no ability to log that data, making posttest analysis impossible. 

To overcome this limitation and provide the customer with a data product, Parsons developed, tested, verified and deployed an innovative software tool that not only logs the IFF test set’s data, but time tags, organizes, filters and processes the data for user-friendly posttest analysis. This was accomplished by decomposing the serial communication port and splitting it between the graphical user interface, the simulation box and the new data logger.

“The BAF has custom made tools that help plan tests, build better data products and analyze data,” said Parsons. “We have a team using machine learning, artificial intelligence, and statistical analysis to perform quality assurance of antenna patterns in near real time. The BAF today is very different from the BAF 10 years ago. We are executing at capacity with customers booking test windows three to four years in advance. Having the ability to build custom tools has and will continue to improve the BAF’s throughput.”