Arnold AFB Manchester, TN
Arnold Engineering Development Complex, located at Arnold AFB, Tennessee, is the most advanced and largest complex of flight simulation test facilities in the world. The complex operates 43 aerodynamic and propulsion wind tunnels, rocket and turbine engine test cells, space environmental chambers, arc heaters, ballistic ranges, and other specialized equipment.
Facilities can simulate flight conditions from sea level to 300 miles and from subsonic velocities to Mach 20.
Life at Arnold
Located in Coffee and Franklin counties in Tennessee, Arnold Air Force Base is the perfect place to enjoy the scenic beauty that surrounds the nearby cities of Manchester, Tullahoma and Winchester. Right between Nashville and the busy city of Chattanooga, AEDC is a great place for both work and play.
AEDC is the only active duty Air Force base in Tennessee, one of the largest employers in the area, and surrounded by breathtaking mountains and national parks. Catch a movie on the weekend, hike at a nearby trail or take classes at Arnold’s Fitness Center. Travel about an hour outside the base and you will find a number of ski resorts, hiking trails and higher education institutions.
Innovations at Arnold
The Space Threat Assessment Testbed (STAT)
The Space Threat Assessment Testbed (STAT) at Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) is a new, one-of-a-kind testing facility designed to simulate a realistic space environment using multiple source simulators to emulate the conditions existing at various orbits. The STAT facility comes complete with a fully-instrumented micro-satellite available to use as a test article in the facility during the initial and final checkout for full mission readiness. This unique space asset will be able to provide a better understanding of the natural or man-made enemy forces that threaten U.S. satellite capabilities and will fulfill a long-standing need for a national mission-critical asset with capabilities previously unavailable anywhere in the world. Next-Generation Heat Shield Materials for Missiles
As a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) leaves the U.S. Navy Trident II submarine and is clear of the water on a rapid-fire trajectory to destroy its target, Navy fleet commanders must know for sure if it can survive the elements. AEDC Arc-Heated facilities are unique in their ability to simulate heat flux and pressure conditions typical of long-range ballistic missile re-entry through the atmosphere. Since 2000, the U.S. Navy has come to AEDC to conduct aero-thermal testing. AEDC’s High-Enthalpy Arc-Heated facilities provide the DOD with the capabilities needed when developing high-speed missiles and vehicles.
J-6 Large Rocket Motor Testing Facility
AEDC's J-6 Large Rocket Motor Testing Facility is one of the few outfits in the world sophisticated enough to test a rocket motor like the CASTOR® 30XL.
How does a rocket motor testing facility accurately assess the performance of a motor designed to deliver cargo to the International Space Station? The testing chambers at the J-6 Large Rocket Motor Testing Facility are specially designed to handle the amount of exhaust products during the long static fire duration and simulate upper atmospheric conditions, and are strong enough to measure the thrust, pressure burn rate and stresses of firing during takeoff.
The J-6 facility provides ground test simulations for solid-propellant rocket motors over a wide range of simulated pressure altitudes. AEDC has unique test capabilities for testing rocket propulsion systems with high performance/high area-ratio nozzles, and those requiring altitude start and restart, stage separation and spin testing.
These facilities are the largest of their kind in the world and provide the only altitude test capability for medium to large and rocket propulsion systems in the United States.
Eglin AFB Fort Walton Beach, FL
Eglin is the largest Air Force base in the free world, occupying 101,000 square miles of airspace, which extends from the Florida Panhandle to the Keys. Opened more than 75 years ago, Eglin AFB is home to one of the largest civilian workforces in the Air Force, and is a world leader in aerospace technology and air supremacy.
From leading Air Force combat missions in World War II, to spearheading development and testing in F-15 A-10 avionics, to testing and evaluation for NASA, Eglin continues to make major contributions to a rich and diverse testing environment.
Life at Eglin
Eglin AFB is located in Okaloosa County 60 miles east of Pensacola and 65 miles west of Panama City on the Emerald Coast of Northwest Florida. Families who come to Eglin can’t get enough of the soft white sand beaches and the welcoming base community. Eglin Beach Park, located on Okaloosa Island just west of the Destin Bridge, is open during summer months to all DOD personnel, retirees, family members, civilian personnel, and of course their guests.
National Geographic calls the Emerald Coast “A Top Place to Visit.” TripAdvisor names it a “Top Destination in the U.S.,” and Southern Living magazine has named the area the “Best Beach in the South” for fourteen years running. Whether you’re hitting the shopping centers and restaurants of Destin, exploring the Gulf waters and white-sand beaches or spending some free time at the golf range, there is a lot to do and even more nearby.
Innovations at Eglin
The 40th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin recently made headlines when an A-10 Thunderbolt II fired a guided rocket that impacted only inches away from its intended target. The 2.75 diameter, 35-pound, laser-guided rocket is known as the fixed-wing Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System II (APKWS).
The test squadron performed three sorties to demonstrate the capability and ensure the rocket could be fired safely from a fixed wing aircraft, a test that had never been accomplished before.
The first sortie tested whether aircraft flight would be impacted by carrying the rocket and launcher. During the second sortie, the A-10 fired an unguided inert rocket to ensure the weapon would separate from the aircraft without any issues. For the final sortie, two armed, guided rockets were fired at a surface target at altitudes of 10,000 and 15,000 feet. The last APKWS shot was fired into a 70-knot headwind and impacted the target within the two-meter requirement specifications.
Both shots were considered successful, and the APKWS has numerous potential benefits to the warfighter, including more precise targeting and accuracy.
AFTC at Eglin AFB, tested the combat capabilities of 42 fighter and bomber sorties expending a total of 53 munitions in a maritime environment about 15 nautical miles south of Destin's coastline. Results from nine-aircraft test missions will help the Air Force and its sister services develop joint platform-specific weapons loadouts, tactics, techniques and procedures. They destroyed or damaged 51 of the 56 static target boats and 11 of the 12 remote control boats during the test.
Aircraft charged with the maritime challenge included the A-10, B-1, B-52, F-15 and F-16. Depending on their platform, fighters and bombers were armed with Sniper and LITENING Advanced Targeting pods and various combinations of munitions such laser-guided bombs, Joint Direct Attack Munitions, Maverick air-to-ground missiles, cluster bombs and 20mm and 30mm high-explosive incendiary ammunition.
New-Generation Airmen Readiness
The Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal (NAVSCOLEOD) provides high-risk, specialized, advanced EOD training to more than 2,100 U.S. military and selected DOD civilian personnel each year. The Disposal (NAVSCOLEOD) and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Division are pioneers in Airmen Readiness training. The facilities include:
Robot training lanes, night-operations training structures and bomb disposal decontamination stations.
Ten separate training divisions: CORE, Demolition, Tools and Methods, Biological and Chemical, Ground Ordnance, Air Ordnance, Improvised Explosive Devices, Nuclear Ordnance, WMD and Underwater.
Training aid and facilities maintenance compound and six explosive storage magazines.
Recent 'Battlevision' experiments conducted by the 96th Medical Division to improve visual performance associated with rapid eye movements, eye-hand/foot speed coordination, depth perception, peripheral awareness and eye fatigue, to name a few.
Edwards AFB Edwards, California
Edwards AFB is where the most legendary, critical, and boldly emerging military aircraft technologies in the world converge—from the first moonwalk, to the first jet aircraft, to the turbojet revolution, and beyond.
Since its beginning in 1951, AFTC and Edwards AFB have been known as the place where “the rubber meets the road” in aviation technology, and the home of American flight research and innovation. Throughout its history, the Air Force Test Center has tested and supported the development of virtually every aircraft system that the Air Force has ever set in flight. From the early test flights of the jet-propelled XP-59A, to supersonic breakthroughs, to the unmanned aerial systems and advanced weaponry of today, AFTC continues to be the proving ground for military aviation.
Life at Edwards
All work and no play do not apply when at Edwards. Go horseback riding, relax by the pool, work out at our gym, play tennis, racquetball, or if paintball is more your style, Edwards has that too.
Surrounded by desert bike trails and breathtaking mountain views, Edwards is located in the Antelope Valley near Lancaster and Palmdale, CA. Within a few hours drive, you can enjoy Southern California beaches, explore Napa Valley vineyards, or visit world-class museums. Other attractions also within driving distance include skiing and outdoor activities at Mammoth Mountain or Big Bear Lake, Universal Studios, the San Diego Zoo, Disneyland and Sea World.
Innovations at Edwards
The Electronic Warfare Group is the Air Force focal point for electronic warfare (EW) test and evaluation. It provides the world’s pre-eminent test and evaluation capabilities, resources and expertise for EW and avionics systems.
The Electronic Warfare Group has full EW test and evaluation capabilities to meet mission-specific requirements. Extensive test facilities include the Test and Evaluation Modeling and Simulation facility, systems integration laboratories for software test and integration, hardware-in-the-loop facilities to evaluate the effectiveness of EW systems and tactics, and installed systems test facilities, such as the Benefield Anechoic Facility. Open air ranges and flight test and measurement facilities provide antenna performance, aircraft radio frequency and infrared signature test and evaluation capabilities.