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Better together: J-PRIMES/BAF collaborate to meet test demands

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

Competing and winning in the Electromagnetic Spectrum, or EMS, is more important than ever before. So how does Air Force Test Center accurately test and help make design choices on EMS technologies for customers? Anechoic chambers.

Anechoic chambers have long been used to characterize the performance of offensive and defensive EMS 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 (J-PRIMES) at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and the Benefield Anechoic Facility located at Edwards AFB, Calif.

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 AFB, Fla., Oct. 18 - Nov. 5, 2021. 

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, chief, Installed Systems Test Flight. “It makes sense to leverage available resources such as the Advanced Radar Environment Simulator (ARES) 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.

Utilization of 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, Technical Advisor, Air Force Test Center

J-PRIMES provides testing of air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions and electronics systems on fighter sized aircraft and land vehicles prior to open air testing.

The BAF is the largest anechoic test facility in the world, fitting virtually every aircraft in the DOD’s inventory with few exceptions.

Both chambers serve to test and integrate avionics systems in a secure and repeatable, electromagnetically controlled environment, using state-of-the-art simulation and stimulation technology that closely duplicates operationally representative environments. Their isolation from the outside world make them secure, and enable experimentation and problem-solution discovery.

Ground testing in AFTC’s chambers offer customers affordable and valuable performance data in order to make design decisions and iron-out integration issues before flight test.

“DOD goals demand that the test enterprise focus on EMS superiority and great power competition,” said Grigaliunas.  “AFTC will continue collaborating to ensure our chambers represent the modern electromagnetic operational environment.”

Edwards provides care, opportunities for children aged six weeks through high school graduation

Edwards provides care, opportunities for childrenaged six weeks through high school graduation

The Child and Youth Program at Edwards AFB provides care and opportunities for kids ages six weeks old through high school graduation. A brief summary of those services follows:

  •                    The Child Development Center cares for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, with a DOD-wide curriculum. The curriculum is focused on learning through play activities supporting social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Installations across DOD follow the curriculum on the same timeline to allow seamless permanent change-of-station transitions for youth enrolled in care.
  •                    The School Age Center provides before and after-school care and summer camp for children ages 5 to 12. During school breaks, full-day camps are offered. SAC promotes cognitive, social, emotional, cultural, language and physical development through programs that encourage self-confidence, curiosity, self-discipline and resiliency.
  •                    The open recreation program at the Main Youth Center provides a safe space for ages 9 to 12 to attend after school. Programs include Power Hour, STEM, Torch Club, social recreation, youth camps, special events and more.
  •                    The youth sports program provides intro and league opportunities for ages 3 to 12, and promotes inclusiveness, self-discipline, commitment, resiliency and social skills. There are four sports offered annually for ages five to 12: baseball/softball, soccer, flag football and basketball. Smart start programs are available to ages 3 to 5. There are many other sports and camps offered throughout the year.
  •                    The Teen Center is available for ages 13 to 18 during the school year. Programs offered include Military Youth of the Year, Keystone Club, social recreation, STEM activities, college trips, leadership camps and more.
  •                    Youth programs (SAC, open rec and teen) are affiliated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and 4-H.
  •                    Family Child Care homes – there are currently three FCC homes on the installation. They can provide care for ages two weeks to 12 years. FCC providers are trained by Child and Youth Program training and curriculum specialists and have the flexibility to determine their hours of operation and the ages of youth within their care. The program’s new dedicated manager, Jennifer Stegmann, may be reached at 661-275-7529.

Although CDC enrollment capacity is 317, not all slots are currently filled because of a shortage of childcare workers. School Age Center enrollment capacity is 156. After-school care enrollment is 130. Before-school care enrollment is 75. Summer Camp 2022 was at its capacity and enrollment for Summer Camp 2023 opens April 3.