Newport Research Facility
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate, Rome, N.Y., maintains three remote facilities in Central New York. These provide unique facilities to support current and future Air Force information technology needs. The facilities are located at Newport, Stockbridge and Verona. A broad spectrum of information systems and electromagnetic research, measurements and demonstration are conducted at the facilities. The research facilities are under the management of Information Directorate's Information Systems Division. Facility support is currently provided through a contract with the Rome Research Corporation.
The Newport Research Facility, located 26 miles east of Rome, N.Y. in Herkimer County, consists of six highly instrumented data gathering facilities for 10 measurement ranges. The facility is located on two hilltops which are more than a mile apart and separated by a 400-foot valley. The somewhat isolated area provides a moderately quiet electromagnetic environment. This facility is primarily used to gather antenna pattern and coverage data on tactical aircraft such as fighters and attack aircraft including the Air Force EF-111A, F4E, RF-4G, A-10, F-15, F-16 and a B-1 tail; as well as a fuselage section of a Navy EA6-B and the Army's Comanche helicopter. In June 1994, a modified YF-22 airframe was placed atop a pedestal at the Newport facility to begin an extensive testing program on proposed antenna systems for the F-22 fighter that is expected to enter production at the turn-of-the-century. This is the earliest in the development cycle of an aircraft that Rome engineers have ever performed antenna measurements on a full-scale airframe. This will give the antenna designers an early assessment of antenna performance when changes can be easily made before final production.
At Newport and Stockbridge, Rome scientists and engineers operate the "Upside Down Air Force," where aircraft which are no longer flight-capable are mounted atop large antenna positioners to evaluate the effects of airframe fuselage and external equipment on antenna performance. Whenever missiles, fuel tanks or other equipment are mounted on the outside of an aircraft, there is an effect on antenna patterns. Also, new materials used on modern-day aircraft can alter the antenna performance. These sites exist to determine what those effects are and how to minimize them. Ten minutes of testing in this manner is equivalent to 100 hours of actual flight testing, saving countless man-hours and millions of dollars each year. In addition, since the airframes can be tested a full 360 degrees and at various angles, pedestal tests are far superior and more complete than flight testing. Nearly every type of aircraft in the Air Force inventory, as well as some aircraft from other services, has been tested at either Newport or Stockbridge.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|