A state-of-the-art mobile telemetry system that provides real-time data to test engineers found a home recently at the Navy's principal test site for catapult launches and arrested landings.
The Mobile Integrated Telemetry System, or MITS, developed by Atlantic Test Ranges, known as ATR, experts at NAS Pax River, allows the Navy to measure and transmit data from remote sources for all aircraft tested at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
Mobile assets are routinely used to provide highly accurate data during aircraft testing there, but now, when ATR telemetry experts escort the 53-foot tractor trailer named MITS-24 for the 24 workstations it houses to the New Jersey test site, they have a permanent pad for the trailer to reside upon while supporting test events.
"This location is now the Pax River telemetry site at Lakehurst," said Dave Lundwall, an ATR telemetry engineering technician based at Pax River. "No matter what platform is tested - whether we're performing catapults, arrestments, or evaluating the newest Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Landing System, known as EMALS technology - with the MITS situated here, we can receive clear telemetry signals for the test team, as well as satisfy site-safety requirements, as our old locations were on an active taxiway."
The new site placement will improve telemetry acquisition for all aircraft platforms tested at Lakehurst's full-scale shipboard representative test facilities. The Navy's new EMALS, which is being evaluated to replace steam catapults currently used aboard aircraft carriers, employs a trailer at the site that's ready to be re-manned when EMALS resumes full-scale testing. This will make it easier for the test team to go between the two systems.
The telemetry system collects data from the aircraft or system being tested and supports short- and long-term remote site telemetry acquisition. Not only do test engineers get the data in real time at the workstations inside the trailer, but the information can be relayed to the ATR Pax River facility, so the test teams do not have to travel to the site to assess the outcome. For engineers at Lakehurst, the trailer provides a comfortable, climate-controlled enclosure with all the telemetry tools and processing features necessary for flight testing.
The permanent pad is made up of interlocking pieces used to build temporary runways. Lundwall said the site is a result of hard work by the ATR telemetry team and personnel at Lakehurst, who were instrumental in formalizing the location, setting up electric, fiber and telephone connections, and helping the Pax River test team settle into its new location. Now, MITS-12, MITS-21 or other telemetry mobile vehicles can operate from the site.
MITS vehicles are equipped with plasma displays and telemetry control equipment normally associated with the Real-time Telemetry Processing System at ATR: an external tracking antenna; UHF communications system; recording devices; and analysis and display software with video display capability. Internal generators can provide enough power for total independent operation of the vehicles at any location.
NAS Patuxent River is the busiest flight test center in the world, with open-air range and ground test facilities providing tremendous application for fleet and warfighter pre-deployment and readiness training exercises. ATR controls fully instrumented and integrated test ranges that provide full-service support for cradle-to-grave testing. Airspace and surface target areas are used for test and evaluation of aircraft and for warfighter training missions. Technical experts and mobile assets routinely support flight testing at sites around the country.
For more information about ATR, visit www.navair.navy.mil/ ranges/atr/index.htm.