The Test Division is responsible for programming, management, execution, and reporting all test and analysis & evaluation programs in the center's wind tunnels, gas turbine (jet engine) sea level and altitude test cells, space environmental chambers, altitude rocket test cells, ballistic ranges, arc heaters and other aerospace test units including geographically separated units at Ames Research Center, Mountain View and Edwards AFB, California; Peterson AFB, Colorado; Eglin AFB, Florida; the Federal Research Center at White Oak, Maryland; and Hill AFB, Utah.
Responsible for the flight systems product area. Manages flight systems wind tunnel development and evaluation testing in simulated subsonic, transonic, supersonic, and hypersonic flight envelopes. Serves as primary customer interface and center planning and execution agent for performing the flight systems test mission. Responsible for developing and communicating the strategic roadmap for all aspects and support to the flight systems product area. Responsible for all aspects of the test mission including budgeting, business development, test planning, test execution, and data analysis and reporting. Directs flight systems analysis and evaluation program.
Test Facility Capabilities
Test Facility Fact Sheets
Aerodynamics Test Operating Location White Oak, Md.
Hypervelocity Wind Tunnel 9, and AEDC site located at White Oak near Silver Spring, Md., provides aerodynamic simulation critical to hypersonic system development and hypersonic vehicle technologies. The facility supports testing for Air Force, Navy, Army, Missile Defense Agency, and NASA programs, as well as advanced hypersonic technologies such as wave-rider-type vehicles, scramjets and transatmospheric space planes. Tunnel 9 is the primary high Mach number and high Reynolds number facility for hypersonic ground testing and the validation of computational simulations for the Air Force and Department of Defense. Noteworthy advantages over other facilities include a unique storage heater with pressures up to 1,900 atmospheres and temperatures up to 3,650 degrees Rankine. Axisymmetric contoured nozzles for Mach 7, 8, 10 and 14 operation are also available.
Test Facility Capabilities
Test Facility Fact Sheet
Aerodynamics Test Operating Location Moffett Field, Calif.
The National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex wind tunnel facility located at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., is operated by the U.S. Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center. NFAC is a unique facility primarily used for determining aerodynamic characteristics of large-scale and full-scale rotorcraft and powered-lift V/STOL aircraft, as well as testing of wind turbines, parachutes, trucks, and other non-traditional types of testing. The facility is composed of two large test sections and a common, six-fan drive system. The 40-by-80 foot wind tunnel circuit is capable of providing test velocities up to 300 knots. The 80-by-120 foot test section is the world's largest wind tunnel and is capable of testing a full size Boeing 737 at velocities up to 100 knots.
NFAC Fact Sheet
The Hypersonic Systems Test Branch leads the development and operation of an advanced complex of hypersonic flight simulation test facilities. Executes the Department of Defense Test and Evaluation Science and Technology portfolio, developing critical test technologies to support high speed and hypersonic testing. Manages Central Test and Evaluation Infrastructure Program funding for Hypersonic T&E Infrastructure Program, which will provide improvement in AEDC’s scramjet engine testing capabilities over five years. Provides ongoing support to hypersonic system ground testing in the Aerodynamic and Propulsion Test Unit, as well as hypersonic flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base.
The Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Developmental Test Branch is the Executing Test Organization (ETO) in support of modernization and life extension for the LGM-30 Minuteman III (MMIII) and development of the next generation Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) ICBM. On July 24, 2015, the Air Force Test Center was designated as the GBSD.
Responsible for the aeropropulsion systems product area. Manages aeropropulsion system development and evaluation testing in simulated flight environment. Serves as primary customer interface and center planning and execution agent for performing the aeropropulsion systems test mission. Responsible for developing and communicating the strategic roadmap for all aspects and support to the aeropropulsion product area. Responsible for all aspects of the test mission including budgeting, business development, test planning, test execution and data analysis and reporting. Directs aeropropulsion analysis and evaluation program.
Test Facility Fact Sheets
Propulsion Test Operating Location at Eglin, AFB
The McKinley Climatic Laboratory, located at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, has chambers where any climatic environment in the world can be simulated. The capabilities available at the Climatic Laboratory help engineers ensure maximum reliability and operational capability of complex systems as global operational theaters continue to impose harsh environments. Tests at the facility for the Department of Defense, other government agencies and private industry have included items such as large aircraft, tanks, missile launchers, shelters, engines, automobiles and tire manufacturers.
The Climatic Laboratory has five testing chambers which include the Main Chamber; the Equipment Test Chamber; the Sun, Wind, Rain and Dust Chamber; the Salt Fog Chamber; and the Altitude Chamber.
The Main Chamber (MC) is the largest environmental chamber in the world. At approximately 252 feet wide, 260 feet deep and 70 feet high, tests have consisted of large items and systems for aircraft such as the B-2 Bomber and the C-5 Galaxy. The temperatures achieved in the chamber range between -65 degrees Fahrenheit to 165 degrees Fahrenheit with a simulation of all climatic conditions including heat, snow, rain, wind, sand and dust.
The Equipment Test Chamber is 130 feet long, 30 feet wide and 25 feet high. Although it is smaller, it has the same capabilities of the MC. Tests usually consist of jet engines, small vehicles and turbine-driven ground power units.
The Sun, Wind, Rain and Dust Chamber produces ambient or hot test conditions. Wind-blown rain at rates up to 25 inches per hour and heavy sand and dust storms can also be created in this chamber.
Because of the corrosive properties of salt fog test conditions, the Salt Fog Chamber was designed to provide an ambient test chamber that is away from other test chambers. The chamber has two steam-fed heat exchangers that create the temperature to perform the salt fog test.
The chamber is approximately 55 feet long, 16 feet wide and 16 feet high. The chamber doesn’t have refrigeration capability.
The Altitude Chamber can create pressure altitudes as high as 80,000 feet with a temperature capability of -80 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The chamber measures 13 by 9 feet and 6 feet high.