By Ms. Christy Barnett (ATEC)August 19, 2019
The U.S. Army Redstone Test Center (RTC), is celebrating a milestone this month. On August 20, 2009, the Aviation Technical Test Center (ATTC) from Fort Rucker and the Redstone Technical Test Center (RTTC) from Redstone Arsenal consolidated forming the U.S. Army Redstone Test Center. The creation of RTC was the last action to merge aviation and missile test efforts into a single command.
RTC is a U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) tenant activity on Redstone Arsenal. RTC encompasses more than 14,000 acres, or about one-third of the land area of Redstone Arsenal providing cutting-edge test and evaluation support for its customers since the early 1950's.
RTTC had its roots as the Test and Evaluation Directorate within the Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (MRDEC). The missile flight test ranges and rocket motor static test stands established in the early 1950s formed the core of the Test and Evaluation Directorate and provided the means to conduct tests on a wide variety of missile components and subsystems.
The Army Ballistic Missile Agency was abolished on December 11, 1961 as part of the Department of the Army's 1962 reorganization which established the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC). AMC was initially organized into five commodity major subordinate commands (MSCs): Electronics Command, Missile Command; Munitions Command; Mobility Command and Weapons Command; and two functional MSCs: Supply and Maintenance Command and Test and Evaluation Command (TECOM).
Redstone Arsenal became the home of the U.S. Army Missile Command on August 1, 1962 under AMCs jurisdiction. In 1990, the Test and Evaluation Directorate of MRDEC was transferred to the jurisdiction of TECOM under AMC and became known as the RTTC.
ATTC, one of six test centers assigned to TECOM, was formed on October 1, 1990 when the U.S. Army Aviation Development Test Activity (ADTA) and the U.S. Army Aviation Engineering Flight Activity (AEFA) were consolidated.
In November 1959, the Transportation Material Command's Liaison Office was activated at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The office was transferred in 1963 under TECOM and was re-designated as the U.S. Army Aviation Material Command (AVCOM). In 1968, AVCOM was re-designated the U.S. Army Aviation Systems Test Activity. In 1974, the name was changed to AEFA.
In Alabama, the Transportation Aircraft Test and Support Activity (TATSA) was activated on July 1, 1956, and the Signal Aviation Test and Support Activity (SATSA) was activated in the fall of the same year. Both organizations shared the mission of performing logistical testing of all standard and nonstandard avionics equipment.
The Continental Army Command Board Number 6 originated on January 1, 1957 and was renamed the U.S. Army Aviation Board. The TATSA, SATSA, and the Aviation Board were consolidated as the U.S. Army Aviation Test Board under TECOM. The Board was deactivated on July 28, 1976, and ADTA was formed on June 6, 1979.
In October 1990, AMC directed that AEFA be consolidated with ADTA and the combined organizations be designated as ATTC under TECOM. Concurrently, AEFA became the Airworthiness Qualification Test Directorate (AQTD) of ATTC. Finally, in 1996, the AQTD was consolidated with the other elements of ATTC at Fort Rucker.
On October 1, 1999, a new era in modern military testing began as Army developmental and operational testing consolidated under one command, the newly formed ATEC in Alexandria, Virginia.
The combined history and accomplishments of the genesis test organizations, ATTC and RTTC, has provided RTC a proud past to build upon.