452d Flight Test Squadron The   452d   Flight   Test   Squadron   at   Edwards   Air   Force   Base   operates   a   variety   of   unique,   highly modified   C-135   and   C-18   aircraft   to   plan   and   execute   DoD,   NASA,   and   operational   flight   test programs.    Missions    supported    include    worldwide    telemetry    gathering,    international    treaty verification,   spacecraft   launches,   ballistic   missile   defense,   electronic   combat   and   vulnerability analysis,   aircraft   icing   tests,   and   aerial   refueling   certification.   The   452   FLTS   accomplishes   its primary   mission   using   the   Advanced   Range   Instrumentation   Aircraft   (ARIA)   and   the   Cruise Missile Mission Control Aircraft (CMMCA). The   Advanced   Range   Instrumentation   Aircraft   (ARIA   -   pronounced   Ah-RYE-ah)   are   EC-135E and   EC-18B   aircraft   used   as   flexible   airborne   telemetry   data   recording   and   relay   stations. These aircraft   were   designed   and   developed   to   supplement   land   and   marine   telemetry   stations   in support   of   DOD   and   NASA   space   and   missile   programs.   The   ARIA   have   the   capability   to acquire,   track,   record,   and   retransmit   telemetry   signals,   primarily   in   the   S-band   (2200-2400 MHz) frequency range. In   the   early   1960's,   the   National Aeronautics   and   Space Administration   (NASA)   realized   that   the lunar    missions    of    the   Apollo    program    would    require    a    worldwide    network    of    tracking    and telemetry   stations,   many   positioned   in   remote   regions   of   the   world.   The   Department   of   Defense (DoD)   was   also   faced   with   similar   considerations   for   its   unmanned   orbital   and   ballistic   missile reentry   test   programs.   Since   land   stations   are   obviously   limited   by   geographical   constraints,   and instrumentation   ships   cannot   be   moved   quickly   enough   to   cover   different   positions   during   the same   mission,   it   soon   became   evident   that   large   gaps   in   coverage   would   occur.   To   fill   these gaps,   a   new   concept   in   tracking   stations   was   developed   -   a   high-speed   aircraft   containing   the necessary    instrumentation    to    assure    spacecraft    acquisition,    tracking,    and    telemetry    data recording.   The   same   aircraft   could   provide   coverage   of   translunar   injection   and   recovery   for NASA's   manned   space   flight   operations,   as   well   as   events   of   interest   in   the   DoD   orbital   or ballistic   missile   reentry   tests.   To   implement   the   concept,   NASA   and   DoD   jointly   funded   the modification    of    eight    C-135    jet    transport/cargo    aircraft.    The    Apollo/Range    Instrumentation Aircraft    (A/RIA),    designated    EC-135N,    became    operational    in    January    1968,    having    been modified at the basic cost of $4.5 million per aircraft. The Air   Force   Eastern   Test   Range   (AFETR)   was   selected   to   operate   and   maintain   the   system   in support    of    the    test    and    evaluation    (T&E)    community.    McDonnell-Douglas    Corporation    and Bendix   Corporation   were   the   contractors   for   the   design,   aircraft   modification,   and   testing   of   the electronic   equipment.   In   December   1975,   after   7   years   of   operation   by   the   Eastern   Test   Range, the   ARIA   (redesignated   Advanced   Range   Instrumentation   Aircraft   following   completion   of   the Apollo   program)   were   transferred   to   the   4950th   Test   Wing,   Wright-Patterson AFB,   Ohio,   as   part of   an Air   Force   consolidation   of   large   T&E   aircraft.   The   4950th   Test   Wing   provided   test   support, personnel,   and   resources   for   the   operational   use   of,   and   modifications   and   improvement   to,   the ARIA    fleet.    After    arriving    at    Wright-Patterson    AFB,    the    ARIA    fleet    underwent    numerous conversions,    including    re-engining    of    EC-135N   ARIA    to    EC-135E    and    the    acquisition    and conversion of used Boeing 707 commercial airliners to ARIA. In   1982,   the   Air   Force   bought   eight   used   Boeing   707-320C's   from   American   Airlines,   modifying the   jets   to   the ARIA   configuration   and   dubbing   them   EC-18B's. The   EC-18B,   which   is   larger   than the   EC-135N,   carries   a   bigger   payload   and   operates   on   shorter   runways,   flew   its   first   mission   in January   1986   out   of   Kenya.   In   1994,   the   ARIA   fleet   was   relocated   to   Edwards   AFB,   California, as   part   of   the   452d   Flight Test   Squadron,   in   the   412th Test   Wing. The   current ARIA   fleet   consists of   three   EC-135E   and   three   EC-18B   aircraft.   On   10   February   1998   the   annual   Force   Structure Announcement   formalized   adjustments   to   the   aircraft   fleet   at   Edwards,   which   included   the   loss of   one   EC-18   and   one   EC-135   aircraft.   These   changes   were   the   result   a   continuation   of   the normal   fleet   adjustments   which   occur   at   Edwards   as   test   programs   change   and   the   general   test aircraft fleet is upgraded and modernized. Aircraft   375   was   one   of   the   first   Apollo   Range   Instrumentation   Aircraft   (ARIA)   put   into   service. Aircraft   894   is   one   of   two   active   ARIA   with   in   flight   refueling   capabilities.   This   aircraft   is   a modified   commercial   Boeing   707,   and   is   one   of   four ARIA   that   have   been   upgraded   with   4   MHz Racal    Storehorse    recorders    and    Microdyne    S-Band,    C-Band,    P-Band    Superheterodyne receivers. The ARIA   deploy   throughout   the   world   to   obtain   telemetry   data   from   orbital   and   reentry   vehicles as   well   as   air-to-air   and   cruise   missile   tests.   This   includes   support   of   tests   conducted   at   Cape Canaveral   AFS,    Vandenberg   AFB,    Hill   AFB,    Eglin   AFB,    and    from    ships    and    submarines. Normally,   the   telemetry   data   is   obtained   in   locations   such   as   broad   ocean   areas   and   remote land   areas   which   are   outside   the   coverage   of   ground   stations.   Selected   portions   of   the   data   may be   retransmitted   in   real   time,   via   UHF   satellite,   to   enable   the   launching   agency   to   monitor system performance. All data is recorded on magnetic tape for post-mission analysis. The   Cruise   Missile   Mission   Control   Aircraft   (CMMCA)   mission   is   different   from   both   orbital   and reentry   mission   types,   primarily   due   to   the   mission   duration   which   may   involve   continuous automatic   tracking   for   more   than   five   hours.   Other   differences   include:   the   vehicle   flies   below the ARIA;   real-time   data   is   relayed   via   L-band   transmitters   directly   to   ground   stations;   and   voice is   relayed   via   ARIA   UHF   radios   between   mission   aircraft   (launch,   chase,   photo,   etc.)   and mission   control.   ARIA   also   flies   as   the   primary   remote   command   &   control   /   flight   termination system for these missions. On   a   typical   mission,   flown   locally   from   Edwards   AFB,   a   B-52   launch   aircraft   with   the   cruise missile   departs   its   home   base   several   hours   prior   to   the   ARIA   takeoff.   The   ARIA   joins   the   B-52 and   acquires   telemetry   from   the   missile   at   about   launch   minus   90   minutes.   The   B-52   and   the trailing   ARIA   then   proceed   to   the   launch   area.   At   this   point,   mission   control   uses   the   ARIA telemetry   data   to   evaluate   the   missile's   status.   Prior   to   launch,   F-16   chase   and   photo   aircraft join   the   B-52   launch   aircraft. After   final   checks   are   completed,   the   cruise   missile   is   launched   and the   B-52   departs   the   area.   The   ARIA   continues   to   track   the   missile   after   launch,   receives   and relays   telemetry   data   from   the   missile,   and   relays   UHF   voice   from   the   chase   planes   to   mission control.   The   ARIA   tracks   the   cruise   missile   until   termination   of   the   mission.   During   most   tests, ARIA   supplies   the   primary   remote   command   &   control   /   flight   termination   system   (RCC/FTS) signal to the missile. The   Cruise   Missile   Mission   Control   Aircraft   (CMMCA)   Phase   0   modification   provides   real-time telemetry   displays   and   redundant   RCC/FTS   systems.   .   The   Advanced   CMMCA,   provides   the same   capabilities   as   the   CMMCA   Phase   0   plus   a   tracking/surveillance   radar   for   stand-alone operations as well as real-time data processing and display. Each   ARIA   has   both   external   and   internal   modifications.   Externally   the   most   obvious   difference in   appearance   from   a   standard   C-135   or   C-18   aircraft   is   the   large,   bulbous,   "droop   snoot"   nose, a   ten-foot   radome   which   houses   a   seven-foot   steerable   dish   antenna.   The   ARIA   also   has   a probe   antenna   on   each   wing   tip   and   a   trailing   wire   antenna   on   the   bottom   of   the   fuselage   (EC- l35E   only)   used   for   high   frequency   (HF)   radio   transmission   and   reception.   Further   external modifications    include    antennas    for    data    retransmission    via    UHF    satellite.    The    internal modifications   to   the   cargo   compartment   include   all   of   the   instrumentation   subsystems   (Prime Mission    Electronic    Equipment    -    PMEE)    installed    in    the    form    of    a    30,000    pound    modular package.   Also   provided   are   facilities   for   the   crew   members   who   operate   the   PMEE.   The   Prime Mission   Electronic   Equipment   (PMEE)   is   organized   into   eight   functional   subsystems   to   provide the ARIA mission support capability. The   most   obvious   feature   of   the ARIA   is   the   nose   radome   which   contains   the   83-inch   parabolic tracking    antenna.   The    acquisition    and    tracking    of    telemetry    signals    is    the    function    of    this subsystem,    which    is    controlled    by    the    antenna    control    assembly    (ACA),    and    the    antenna operator.   The   antenna   subsystem   currently   has   the   capability   to   receive   and   track   telemetry signals    in    the    S-band    frequency    range    from    2,200-2,400    MHz,    primarily,    and    the    C-band frequency   range   from   4,150-4,250   MHz.   With   additional   modifications   to   this   subsystem,   ARIA can receive and record L-band and P-band frequencies. The   S-band   (UHF)   antenna   consists   of   the   83-inch   parabolic   reflector   and   a   focal   point   crossed dipole   array   feed   assembly.   The   feed   assembly   consists   of   an   antenna   array,   a   comparator network,   interconnecting   cables   and   associated   hardware.   The   antenna   array   consists   of   four sets   of   crossed   dipoles   symmetrically   arranged   in   a   cross-hair   configuration.   The   comparator network   is   a   system   of   three   passive   photo-printed   microstrip   modules   encased   in   aluminum housings.   The   purpose   of   the   network   is   to   form   the   right-   and   left-hand   circularly   polarized (RHCP   and   LHCP)   sum   and   difference   channels.   The   sum   (data)   channels   are   available   for patching   to   the   telemetry/tracking   receivers.   The   difference   channels   are   amplitude-modulated onto   the   sum   channels   by   the   scanner   assembly   and   used   for   automatic   tracking.   Programs using   telemetry   frequencies   outside   the   2,200-2,300   MHz   band   have   been   supported   by ARIA   in the   past.   Reception   and   tracking   of   alternate   frequencies   can   sometimes   be   accomplished   with little or no modification to the ARIA. There   are   two   modes   of   antenna   tracking   -   automatic,   in   which   antenna   positioning   is   controlled by   the   antenna   control   assembly,   and   manual,   in   which   antenna   positioning   is   controlled   by   the antenna   operator   by   using   the   hand   wheels   or   joystick.   Automatic   acquisition   mode   is   selected by   the   antenna   operator.   Upon   acquisition   of   the   signal,   the   antenna   system   electronically simulates   a   conical   scan   of   3   dB   off   bore   sight   to   generate   error   signals   that   indicate   in   which direction   the   signal   is   off   bore   sight.   These   error   signals   are   routed   to   the   telemetry/tracking receivers   as   amplitude   modulation   on   the   sum   (data)   channel,   demodulated   from   the   sum channel,   and   sent   through   the   signal   interface   assembly   to   the   tracking   combiner/converter   unit (TCCU)   as   tracking   video.   The   TCCU   converts   the   tracking   video   error   signals   to   DC   azimuth and   elevation   error   voltages   which   are   then   routed   through   the   antenna   control   assembly   (ACA) to    the    servo    amplifier,    which    in    turn    controls    the    clutches    which    engage    drive    motors    to reposition the antenna. The   Sonobuoy   Missile   Impact   Location   System   (SMILS)   combines   airborne   equipment   with prepositioned   Deep   Ocean   Transponder   (DOT)   arrays   located   on   the   ocean   floor   in   various parts   of   the   world   to   enable   accuracy   scoring   of   ballistic   missile   impacts   during   test   firings.   It uses   an   array   of   sonobuoys   launched   from   the   support   aircraft   to   gather   background   acoustic information   from   the   ocean   environment   and   navigation   information   from   the   DOTs,   and   transmit this   information   as   audio   via   RF   links   to   the   aircraft   where   it   is   recorded   and   a   database   is created.   When   the   ballistic   missile   reentry   vehicles   (RVs)   impact   in   or   around   the   sonobuoy array,   the   buoys   transmit   the   impact   audio   to   the   aircraft   where   it   is   recorded   and   combined   with timing   and   the   previously   gathered   buoy   navigation   data   to   compute   an   impact   location   and   time for each RV. The   ARIA   optics   system   is   a   set   of   fixed   staring   cameras   aimed   out   the   left   side   of   the   aircraft designed   for   photo-documentation   of   ballistic   missile   reentries   and   impacts.   It   provides   visual verification   of   RV   cloud   penetration,   total   number   of   RVs   surviving   to   impact,   visual   anomalies, and   time   correlation   of   these   events.   During   the   missile   reentry   phase   of   flight,   the   ARIA   flies   a flightpath   which   is   skew   to   the   path   of   the   RVs   and   approximately   15   or   more   miles   away   to avoid   any   chance   of   collision.   During   this   period,   the   ARIA   flies   straight   and   level,   the   cameras are   turned   on,   and   the   data   is   recorded   on   film   and   videotape.   The   heading   and   timing   of   this flight   path   are   critical   and   carefully   planned   to   ensure   that   all   RVs   remain   within   the   field   of   view of   both   the   cameras   and   the   telemetry   antenna   at   all   times.   After   mission   completion,   the   raw film is normally turned over to the using agency for processing. The   rack   containing   the   cameras   and   ancillary   equipment   is   located   on   the   left   side   of   the aircraft   next   to   the   cargo   door,   surrounded   by   a   light   blocking   curtain   to   prevent   any   aircraft   light source   from   interfering   with   the   pictures.   Each   camera   looks   through   its   own   optical   quality window,   kept   free   of   fog   by   forced,   heated   air,   over   a   field   of   regard   of   approximately   40   to   130 degrees   off   aircraft   heading   (horizontal)   and   45   above   to   25   degrees   below   horizon   (vertical). The   optical   windows   which   each   camera   looks   through   are   manufactured   by   Perkin   Elmer   from Schott   BK-7   type   glass. These   windows   have   been   enlarged   for   the   streak   and   framing   cameras to   expand   their   field   of   view;   the   windows   are   approximately   18   x   13   inches   and   13   x   13   inches respectively.   Total   field   of   view   depends   upon   camera   and   lens   selected.   Each   of   the   cameras can   be   operated   at   the   rack   or   at   a   remote   operator   station,   where   the   operator   can   observe visual   events   in   real   time   on   a   video   monitor   and   flag   events   of   interest   on   an   audio   track   of   the videotape.   The   system   consists   of   four   cameras,   timing   and   control   equipment,   video   recorder, and a vacuum pump. The   ballistic   streak   camera   is   used   for   time   exposures   during   twilight   or   nighttime   conditions. As the   RVs   pass   into   the   atmosphere   upon   reentry,   they   heat   up   and   glow,   and   are   recorded   on   film as   streaks   of   light,   separated   horizontally   due   to   aircraft   forward   motion.   While   the   camera shutter   is   open,   the   aperture   can   be   modulated   downward   at   a   known   rate,   thus   providing relative   time   correlation. Additionally,   electrical   pulses   corresponding   to   the   aperture   modulation and   shutter   opening/closing   are   recorded   on   the   telemetry   tape   along   with   IRIG   timing.   Filters and   spectral   gratings   are   available   for   use   with   this   camera.   With   the   single   available   lens,   it provides a field of view (az x el) of approximately 53 x 74 degrees at its optimum positioning. The   framing   camera   is   used   for   high   quality   still   frame   pictures   at   1,   2,   or   4   frames   per   second, and   can   also   be   used   as   a   second   "streak"   camera.   It   places   a   decimal   time   annotation   based on   IRIG-B   timing   in   the   corner   of   each   film   frame   with   a   resolution   of   1   second,   and   also   outputs electrical   pulses   corresponding   to   shutter   opening/closing   for   recording   on   the   telemetry   tape. Filters   and   spectral   gratings   are   available   for   use   with   this   camera.   With   its   single   available   lens, it provides a field of view (az x el) of approximately 53 x 74 degrees. The   cine   camera   is   a   medium-speed   motion   picture   camera   designed   to   operate   in   a   range   of 10   to   200   frames   per   second.   IRIG-B   timing   is   placed   directly   onto   the   film   edge   for   event correlation,   and   an   electrical   pulse   corresponding   to   shutter   opening   is   output   for   recording   on the   telemetry   tape.   Filters   and   spectral   gratings   are   available   for   use   with   this   camera.   With available lenses it provides a field of view (az x el) of from 7 x 5 degrees to 68 x 57 degrees. The Advanced   Range   Instrumentation Aircraft   needs   technology   development   and   advancement to   support   off-range   flight   tests   of   multiple   simultaneous   telemetry   sources.   The   advanced weapons   will   continue   to   increase   their   launch   ranges   and   payload   complexity   and   to   increase their   test   telemetry   data   requirements   during   future   DT&E   or   OT&E   flight   tests.   These   airborne telemetry   sources   will   have   to   be   tracked   from   safe   distances   in   spite   of   large   hazard   zones. The    massive    and    multiple    data    streams    from    the    targets    will    also    have    to    be    collected, retranslated,   and   recorded   without   sacrifice   to   the   data   quality. The   physical   size   of   current ARIA tracking   antenna   is   not   practical   to   increase   because   of   the   negative   impact   a   larger   radome