By Ms. Sofia Bledsoe (ASA (ALT) )March 11, 2009
Much of the Army's test and evaluation resources will be channeled through the Aviation Technical Test Center.
That's what Keith Darrow told the International Test and Evaluation Association at its luncheon Thursday at the Qinetiq facility in Huntsville.
Darrow, deputy commander for ATTC and guest speaker at the luncheon, informed the group of his organization's role and mission in the testing community and what the community can expect during and after its transition from Fort Rucker to Redstone Arsenal due to the Base Realignment and Closure.
Sixty aircraft will be conducting aviation testing in the surrounding communities on a daily basis. "I don't think the community has a good understanding of that yet," Darrow said, explaining that organizations in Redstone and ATTC are doing everything they can to inform the community of what they may start seeing and hearing from the air.
"We are going through great lengths to ensure we analyze all options when we conduct tests," he said.
ATTC has implemented a Fly Neighborly Program in order to mitigate the effects of aircraft operations on Redstone Arsenal and the surrounding communities. The program provides training and awareness for tenant aircraft organizations, develops flying routes and altitude policies that lessen the noise effects on the public, and provides information to the public about ATTC flight operations.
Darrow showed a map of northern Alabama and indicated where ATTC will conduct flight testing. The organization is looking at rural areas much less populated outside of the city of Huntsville. These include minimally populated areas in Lawrence County, Fayetteville, Tenn., and Guntersville. Aircrews have and will receive continued training on the Helicopter Association International, Fly Neighborly Guide.
The growth of developmental flight testing on Redstone will be significant, Darrow said. As home to the Program Executive Office for Aviation, Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, ATTC, industry representatives, educational institutions, and professional societies, Redstone Arsenal is the Army's Aviation Technology Center of Excellence.
"We are genuinely excited about the developmental growth here on Redstone Arsenal," Darrow said.
ATTC, a customer funded organization primarily through the Program Executive Office for Aviation, is the sister command of the Redstone Technical Test Center. Both fall under the Developmental Test Command based at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
Part of the BRAC move and consolidation of resources will also result in the merging of the two organizations to form Redstone Test Center in the next two years. ATTC will complete its move by September 2011, after construction of a new $5 million hangar at the Airfield. An Aviation Test Center for Excellence comes to fruition as more of these test locations may move or allocate resources to Redstone.
"An integrated test and evaluation hub plays right into the BRAC evolution," Darrow said. ATTC has invested approximately $4 million in facility upgrades to accommodate the mission growth and personnel moves. The groundbreaking of the Combined Test Team Facility last year signifies the integration of ATTC and PEO Aviation personnel, which will further consolidate resources, streamline communication, and improve the overall aviation test process.
The move will create a need for ATTC to outsource certain requirements such as X-ray shop, paint shop, upholstery shop, instrumentation calibration shop, sheet metal shop, machine shop, welding shop, and non-tactical vehicle maintenance shop.
"If you think you can help us with these requirements, please let us know," Darrow said.
DTC, together with Operational Test Command and the Army Evaluation Center, belong to the Army Test and Evaluation Command, currently based in Alexandria, Va. Maj. Gen. Jim Myles, Redstone commander, led ATEC prior to his move to Huntsville.