HomeNewsArticle Display

SECAF visits Arnold AFB to view developmental test capabilities

Randy Quinn, right, Arnold Engineering Development Complex Space and Missile Rocket Propulsion Test Capability manager, speaks with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett about testing at the Large Rocket Motor Test Facility J-6 during her visit, June 18, 2020, to Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

Randy Quinn, right, Arnold Engineering Development Complex Space and Missile Rocket Propulsion Test Capability manager, speaks with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett about testing at the Large Rocket Motor Test Facility J-6 during her visit, June 18, 2020, to Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

Melissa Tate, left, deputy director of Aeropropulsion for Arnold Engineering Development Complex, and Lt. Col. Lane Haubelt, chief of the Aeropropulsion Test Branch, speak about the Aeropropulsion Systems Test Facility with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett during her visit, June 18, 2020, to Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

Melissa Tate, left, deputy director of Aeropropulsion for Arnold Engineering Development Complex, and Lt. Col. Lane Haubelt, chief of the Aeropropulsion Test Branch, speak about the Aeropropulsion Systems Test Facility with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett during her visit, June 18, 2020, to Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

Dr. Rich Roberts, flight commander for store separation, speaks with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett about a store separation test of an AARGM-ER from an F-18 Super Hornet using models in the Arnold Engineering Development Complex 16-foot Transonic Wind Tunnel at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., June 18, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

Dr. Rich Roberts, flight commander for store separation, speaks with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett about a store separation test of an AARGM-ER from an F-18 Super Hornet using models in the Arnold Engineering Development Complex 16-foot Transonic Wind Tunnel at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., June 18, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett looks at a model of an F-18 Super Hornet in the Arnold Engineering Development Complex 16-foot Transonic Wind Tunnel during her visit, June 18, 2020, to Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. Also pictured is Dr. Rich Roberts, flight commander for store separation. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett looks at a model of an F-18 Super Hornet in the Arnold Engineering Development Complex 16-foot Transonic Wind Tunnel during her visit, June 18, 2020, to Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. Also pictured is Dr. Rich Roberts, flight commander for store separation. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

Maj. Christopher Brunelle, director of operations for the Arnold Engineering Development Complex Space and Missile Branch, explains the construction of an arc heater to Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett during her visit, June 18, 2020, to Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. Arc heaters provide high-enthalpy test environments to test materials and other means of thermal protection. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

Maj. Christopher Brunelle, director of operations for the Arnold Engineering Development Complex Space and Missile Branch, explains the construction of an arc heater to Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett during her visit, June 18, 2020, to Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. Arc heaters provide high-enthalpy test environments to test materials and other means of thermal protection. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

Kellye Burns, left, a space test engineer, shows Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett some of the hardware and samples used during a materials test in the Space Threat Assessment Testbed at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., June 18, 2020. Also pictured is John Claybrook, capability manager for Space Asset Resilience. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

Kellye Burns, left, a space test engineer, shows Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett some of the hardware and samples used during a materials test in the Space Threat Assessment Testbed at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., June 18, 2020. Also pictured is John Claybrook, capability manager for Space Asset Resilience. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

Kellye Burns, center, a space test engineer, explains to Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett a materials test that was conducted in the Space Threat Assessment Testbed to understand the performance of the materials and susceptibility to a realistic space environment at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., June 18, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

Kellye Burns, center, a space test engineer, explains to Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett a materials test that was conducted in the Space Threat Assessment Testbed to understand the performance of the materials and susceptibility to a realistic space environment at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., June 18, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photos by Jill Pickett)

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett visited Arnold Air Force Base June 18 to get a first-hand look at critical ground-based developmental test mission activities.

The visit highlighted the contribution of the Arnold Engineering Development Complex team to a variety of national priority test missions such as nuclear modernization, flight vehicle aerodynamics, aeropropulsion, hypersonic and space systems.

"Testing and analysis conducted at Arnold Engineering Development Complex is driving scientific breakthroughs to advance our next-generation capabilities," said Barrett. "Historically, innovations by Arnold Airmen led to the fielding of the F-22, F-35, and many more aircraft. Now, as we saw today, these teams are developing cutting-edge technology and platforms to build and equip our future Air and Space Forces."

Barrett visited the Space and Missile Test Branch, where she saw the Space Threat Assessment Testbed, a ground test facility used to evaluate the performance of materials, components, subsystems, and small satellites in a test environment capable of providing space-like conditions from low Earth orbit to geosynchronous operations.

She was shown the High-Enthalpy Arc-Heated Facilities which are used to provide aerothermal ground test simulations of hypersonic flight over a wide range of velocities and pressure altitudes in support of materials and structures development.
The Space and Missile Test Branch also took Barrett to the J-6 Large Rocket Motor Test Facility, where she was briefed on the support Team AEDC provides to current and future strategic nuclear deterrent missile systems.

Barrett was shown the Hypersonic Test Capability Improvement (HTCI) Project, nicknamed “Project Phoenix,” in which the High Speed Systems Test Technology Branch will bring online a facility to support research and development of future hypersonic weapon acquisition programs. The project will be completed in two blocks and each will provide a world-unique test capability. The first block will provide clean Mach 6 air flow to test hypersonic air-breathing engines. The second block will provide a variable nozzle and increased Mach to support future technologies.

Barrett also visited the 16-foot Transonic Wind Tunnel which the Flight Systems Test Team use to conduct aerodynamic testing of large-scale aircraft models. Strategic and tactical weapon systems critical to the Air Force’s modernization plan and the 2018 National Defense Strategy have been tested and evaluated in 16T. Some programs tested are the F-22, F-35, F-18, B-1, B-52 and Long Range Stand Off (LRSO). She was also briefed on the pending return to service of the 16-foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel to support future Air Force modernization projects.

“It is a great pleasure to get to showcase our amazing people and capabilities,” said Col. Jeffrey Geraghty, commander of AEDC. “I’m grateful that Secretary Barrett took the time to see first-hand our team’s contribution to the National Defense Strategy.”