|CV-22 'Suspended' for Countermeasures Testing|
CV-22 'Suspended' for Countermeasures Testing
By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Ball, Air Force Flight Test Center Public Affairs.
Edwards Air Force Base, California -- (AFMCNS) July 11, 2002 -- Edwards experts began testing the CV-22, Air Force variant of the V-22 Osprey, electronic countermeasures in the Benefield Anechoic Facility here July 2.
Maintainers from the 418th Flight Test Squadron prepare connections for the sling that will hold the CV-22 in place for electronics testing in the Benefield Anechoic Facility. The aircraft was towed into the BAF Tuesday in preparation for the test that will be conducted over the next three months.
Photo by Master Sgt. Anne Ward
According to Lt. Col. Tom Kennedy, CV-22 program manager at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, the aircraft will spend about three months suspended from the facility’s ceiling while CV-22 Integrated Test Team members check out the electronic countermeasures package called the suite of integrated radio frequency countermeasures, or SIRFC.
"This is kind of the heart and soul of the aircraft's defensive countermeasures," Kennedy said.
The suite includes state-of-the-art integrated threat location and jamming technology, according to Kennedy.
The testing emphasis of the testing is to characterize the performance of the SIRFC countermeasures.
Before testing, the aircraft showed that some of the antennas were not in optimal locations, Kennedy said. So Edwards CV-22 ITT people relocated the antennas, and testing in the Benefield Anechoic Facility will determine how well the new placement will work out.
The chamber time will also be used to test interoperability of the SIRFC with the aircraft’s multi-mode radar.
"If something is emitting electrons, we have to make sure it doesn't interfere with other systems," Kennedy said.
"Interoperability is critical," said Maj. Ernie Tavares, CV-22 development systems manager. "The CV-22 belongs to Air Force Special Operations command, and one of its intended missions is low-altitude ingress - less than 300 feet. If the SIRFC and the multi-mode radar aren't working together, it could jeopardize that mission."
According to Kennedy, the Benefield Anechoic Facility is geared to simulate flight conditions, mitigating the risk of building the aircraft, flying it and having it not perform.
"This phase of testing will verify the homework the government and the contractors have performed," he said.
"This is the last major hurdle," Kennedy added. "The next step would be to take it out on the range and fly it."
The aircraft in the BAF, called Ship 9, is one of two Ospreys at Edwards. The other craft, Ship 7, will be resuming flight testing sometime in late summer, according to Kennedy.
He said the electronics testing and the return to flight are two major hurdles in the CV-22 program.