REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Aug. 30, 2013) -- Leaders from both the Army Materiel Command and the Research Development and Engineering Command toured Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center facilities at Redstone on Aug. 24.

"This is really important work; we've got to continue to get the message out of all the great things we are doing," AMC deputy commander Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion said.

McQuistion was accompanied by her executive officer, Col. Christopher Mohan, and her aide, Lt. Col. Raymond Bank. Joining McQuistion, from RDECOM, were Jyuji Hewitt, the newly appointed deputy director; Col. Fred Hughes, G-3; and Linda Longo, corporate communications outreach program manager.

The group toured the Navigation Evaluation Facility and the Prototype Integration Facility.

The Navigation Evaluation Facility provides research and development in inertial systems and components for missiles, aircraft and land navigation. Navigation issues include initialization, calibration, compensation, algorithm development, test and evaluation, analysis, transfer alignment, error budgets, trade studies, industry surveys, spec development, integration and flight test support.

The facility consists of state-of-the-art inertial test equipment that can be used to evaluate performance of a variety of inertial navigation systems and sensors over a wide range of military environments including temperature, acceleration, linear vibration, angular vibration and shock.

"The Hellfire IMU/GPS programs were highlighted as recent success stories for transitioning technologies, developed by AMRDEC under its S&T efforts, to fielded system," said Chris Roberts, navigation technology chief.

An inertial measurement unit, or IMU, is the main component of inertial navigation systems used in aircraft and guided missiles. It is an electronic device that measures and reports on a velocity, orientation, and gravitational forces, using a combination of accelerometers and gyroscopes. Recent developments allow for the production of IMU-enabled GPS devices. An IMU can allow a GPS to work when GPS-signals are unavailable.

AMRDEC, in support of the Joint Attack Munition Systems Project Office, has been responsible for assembling, testing and delivering Inertial Measurement Systems, or IMS, to the Redstone Test Center for conversion of Hellfire missiles for fielding on Unmanned Aircraft Systems, directly enhancing missile capabilities.

Prototype integration division chief Danny Featherston led the group in a tour of AMRDEC's Prototype Integration Facility, a government-owned, government-operated facility designed to meet the needs of the Aviation and Missile Command, the Department of Defense and ultimately the war fighter. PIF capabilities include program management, design and analysis, rapid prototyping, mechanical fabrication and platform integration.

Featherston showed the group the Minotaur, a joint effort with the Army's Rapid Equipping Force to support dismounted route reconnaissance and protect Soldiers from Improvised Explosive Devices. The PIF team designed, fabricated, fielded and continues to support a number of MINOTAUR systems operating in Afghanistan.

The group also saw a PIF effort in support of the Marine Helicopter Squadron One and the Presidential Helicopter Program of Naval Air Systems Command. The PIF is developing an aircraft and logistics support package in support of the UH-60N Training Aircraft Conversion Program.

Lt. Col. Chris Mills, product manager for the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, briefed the Iraqi Armed 407 program, where the PIF was tasked to design, prototype and integrate military systems onto a commercial Bell 407 helicopter. Systems integrated onto the helicopter include a Forward Looking Infrared sensor, M3P .50-caliber machine gun, M260 7 shot rocket pod, missile warning system, multiband radio, glass cockpit and an international datalink system.

"Lt. Gen. McQuistion's visit was important as it allowed us to demonstrate our broad mission and view many compelling and urgent hardware projects we are executing for our reimbursable government customers and allies," Featherston said. "In addition we were able to show critical aspects of the AMC enterprise united in support of Army program executive offices."

This was Hewitt's first visit to AMRDEC.

"I am impressed with the capabilities and talent of the professionals at AMRDEC," he said. "We provide a tremendous capability for our nation, the Army, the Army Materiel Command, and the Research Development and Engineering Command. When I see what we have here and I think about the collective capabilities we have across the other Research and Development Centers and marvel at the strategic capabilities we bring to support our Soldiers."


AMRDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.

RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC delivers it.