FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- Electronic Proving Ground officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Smaller Arc fixture at the Antenna Test Facility site at Fort Huachuca's East Range Aug. 17.
The Smaller Arc is a unique design in that it will place the elevation axis on the azimuth axis using a half-circular track that moves both elevation and azimuth at the same time.

Historically, Arc test fixtures are designed to mount vehicles on a rotating platform underneath an Arc to provide an azimuth/elevation spherical coordinate measurement system.

The ATF has five different facilities: a 75-foot radius Arc range, a Compact range with a 60-foot quiet zone, two 500 feet far-field ranges and a half-mile position locator range. The Smaller Arc, due to be test-ready Nov. 2012, will add a sixth measurement capability to the ATF, using modern technology and improved capabilities.

The new design provides the same spherical coordinate system at a fraction of the cost of these historical designs since a light weight tower system is being moved instead of a large vehicle. This means that although there will be some size limitations, the Smaller Arc will have no weight limit for vehicles, which reduces the estimated costs of these measurements by more than 50 percent.

"The Small Arc Range was envisioned a little more than a year ago and is dedicated to the Antenna Measurement Pioneers that recognized the value of this location in Arizona," said Mark D'Amato, technical director of EPG. "The Small Arc Range will bring state-of-the-art antenna measurement technology to Fort Huachuca and will supplement its current capability."

The ATF performs antenna measurements of antennas that range in size from several inches to 30 or 40 feet in diameter, vary in weight from several ounces (measured off the vehicle) to more than 80 tons (when mounted on a large vehicle), and it typically takes 10 -- 15 days to complete the measurements.

D'Amato said the new system will reduce measurement efforts to as few as two to four days. He explained this is important because "[it] will reduce cost, increase throughput and ensure EPG remains the premiere antenna test organization for the Department of the Army and Department of Defense."

The Smaller Arc capabilities will serve more than just the Army, and has the potential to boost revenue within the city of Sierra Vista while simultaneously causing significant savings for the Army and DoD.

"This capability cannot be replicated anywhere else in the U.S.," said Col. Timothy Faulkner, Fort Huachuca garrison commander. "This new facility is paving the way to test all of the Army's and DoD's communication devices, further expanding Fort Huachuca's relevance in the war fight."
When the Smaller Arc is complete, it will begin performing all measurements now tested by the 75-foot Arc for the next year while it is being refurbished.

By 2014, EPG will have two operational Arcs (75-foot and 50-foot radii).