A new Boeing aerial refueling tanker KC-46A Pegasus is undergoing series of avionics tests in Benefield Anechoic Facility (BAF) to demonstrate that it meets Federal Aviation Administration certification requirements.
The company wants the tanker aircraft to meet DOD electromagnetic environmental effects requirements for systems. These tests include shielding effectiveness, emission control and high intensity radiated fields, US Air Force announced Tuesday.
The tests are to confirm that the KC-46A systems do not suffer performance degradation that would prevent mission completion when subjected to the external radio frequency environment and that undesirable emissions are controlled.
The tests are being conducted in the BAF to provide an electromagnetically controlled environment suitable for critically sensitive radio frequency measurements.
The BAF provides a location where electronic warfare tests can be conducted without radio frequency interference from the outside world.
The chamber is filled with polyurethane and polyethylene pyramids designed to stop reflections of electromagnetic waves. The size of the pyramids, which are painted dark blue or black, varies depending on the particular frequency and test procedure being conducted. Aircraft systems can be tested and verified that they work properly prior to actual flying.
“It also provides testing that requires a large amount of high power RF radiation whereas outdoors this would be very restrictive, typically limited to shorter nighttime test operations,” said Delia Reyes, 772nd TS project lead engineer.
The Air Force’s KC-46A tanker modernization program is among the Air Force's acquisition priorities, program managers said.