Navy fighter tests conducted in AEDC's 16-foot transonic tunnel

Carey Wofford, Aerospace Testing Alliance outside machinist, speaks to test personnel in the center’s 16-foot-transonic wind tunnel control room who operate the Captive Trajectory Support (CTS) mechanism holding a HARM missile model above the inverted F/A-18E/F Super Hornet model during a store configuration change.

Carey Wofford, Aerospace Testing Alliance outside machinist, speaks to test personnel in the center’s 16-foot-transonic wind tunnel control room who operate the Captive Trajectory Support (CTS) mechanism holding a HARM missile model above the inverted F/A-18E/F Super Hornet model during a store configuration change.

Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. -- Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) has completed a complex store separation test for the U.S. Navy's F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet in the center's 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T).
"The purpose of our continuing wind tunnel testing is to certify the F/A-18E/F aircraft to carry new weapons," said David Hughes, Aerospace Testing Alliance project manager on the test. "Normally, the Navy also performs a limited flight test after each wind tunnel test to verify the results."
The test was the 12th F/A-18 E/F store separation entry in 16T. It was conducted to investigate the store separation characteristics of the AGM-84H Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) weapon, the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) and 14 other stores released from the aircraft to support flight clearance. The test also examined the carriage load characteristics of the SLAM-ER on the plane.
SLAM-ER addresses the Navy's requirements for a precision-guided Standoff Outside of Area Defense weapon. SLAM-ER provides a long range, precision strike option for both pre-planned and target-of-opportunity attack missions against land and maneuvering ship targets.
The AGM-88 HARM is an air-to-surface tactical missile designed to seek and destroy enemy radar-equipped air defense systems. The missile is capable of detecting, attacking and destroying a target with minimum aircrew input.
This is not the last AEDC test of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in 16T. Another test is planned for the fall of 2007.
The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet entered combat on its maiden voyage in the summer of 2002 aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). The 12-plane squadron flew approximately 90 missions over Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The F/A-18E/F remains combat deployed today in the global war on terrorism. More than 257 Super Hornets have been delivered to the Navy.