New Redstone Test Center capabilities increase support to Soldier
July 18, 2014
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (July 8, 2014) -- The United States Postal Service operates under an important promise, "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," as the Postal Service creed states.
The U.S. Armed Forces, and more specifically the Army, follow a similar obligation to defend democracy and freedom despite harsh conditions. The nation's military uses weapons systems that must be stored, transported and operated in a variety of operational environments worldwide, whether they be desert, arctic, tropic, or marine locations.
Part of the Army's Test and Evaluation Command's Redstone Test Center's mission to test weapons systems in the environments in which they will be used. Imagine that a missile system had been designed, produced and deployed without being tested to withstand extreme hot and cold regions or tropic and marine environments. Temperature, vibration and humidity are the top three environments that lead to equipment failure, and the lack of sufficient rigorous testing could put personnel and the mission at great risk. In support and close coordination with the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command Project Office, RTC's test mission plays a crucial role in ensuring weapons systems are suitable, effective and survivable in any weather environments before they are fielded.
RTC performs essential tests at each stage of the development process to ensure that the Warfighter is equipped with safe, qualified and reliable equipment no matter the environmental conditions. This capability has been achieved with state-of-the-art test facilities, equipment and test engineering expertise for more than 50 years. The Tactical Test Facility, or TFF, and the Multi-Environments Chamber Test Facility were recently constructed on Redstone Arsenal, enabling RTC to affirm, through objective independent testing, the reliability of equipment for the ultimate safety of the Soldier.
How do these test facilities simulate the environments of war? The TTF, a Joint Attack Munition System Project Office funded HELLFIRE test facility, provides the capability to functionally test the operation of HELLFIRE and Longbow missiles at temperature extremes. Functional testing at extreme temperatures validates the system performance in the anticipated environment. The TTF was designed with two test bays, separated by a firewall. This allows two tests to run side by side, helping meet strict missile flight test schedules. Each test bay contains two chambers connected by a common access door. One chamber provides temperature conditioning while the other contains the functional test set. Several missiles can be conditioned in one chamber while functional tests are simultaneously conducted on a missile in the adjacent chamber, assuring that the required test item temperature does not change during the transfer from one chamber to the other. The TTF has an extreme temperature range of -70?F to +160?F. All of these features allow for confidence in these missiles when operated in extreme environments.
The recently constructed Multi-Environments Chamber Test Facility contains two large drive-in extreme temperature and humidity test chambers for testing. These chambers are unique in their increased size and temperature range simulation capabilities. Each extensive chamber allows RTC to test large equipment such as missile launch vehicles, shelters, UAVs, and UGVs. The chambers have the capacity to test large equipment at extreme high and low temperature, thermal shock and humidity. They have a temperature range of -100?F to +185?F and can shift from room temperature to either extreme at a rate of 4?F/minute.
This facility also houses the new contamination by fluids chamber. Future plans include the addition of solar radiation, rain and freezing rain and icing test equipment to further test the reliability of equipment in different climatic conditions. With the ability to conduct such an array of tests on a large scale, those at Redstone Test Center can send equipment off for use with assurance it will not fail the Soldier.
Through test facilities like the TTF and the Multi-Environments Chamber Test Facility, Redstone Arsenal has the capability to test and prepare for nearly every possible condition U.S. Forces will encounter. Without this preparation, equipment failure could risk not only the success of a mission but injury and loss of life as well. Before deploying a weapons system to a worldwide environment, Redstone Test Center ensures each system will perform for the Warfighter of today. Troops can have confidence in the safety and reliability of equipment after it has passed through the hands of Redstone Test Center. Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these Soldiers from successfully defending the nation.
RTC, a subordinate command of the Army Test and Evaluation Command, provides technical expertise, state-of-the-art facilities, and capabilities to plan, conduct, analyze, and report the results of tests on missile and aviation systems, sensors, subsystems and components.