Air Force Radar Experts

Run Tests on Army Helicopter



Air Force radar experts run tests on Army MH-47E Chinook helicopter.



             7 June 2002: EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, California -- The Benefield Anechoic Facility here played host to an Army MH-47 Chinook helicopter May 20 through 28 when the aircraft visited the facility for a series of radar tests.

             The Chinook is a twin-turbine, heavy-lift transport helicopter modified to support special operations missions.

             The helicopter is used to move troops and supplies on special operations missions and has been used extensively in Operation Enduring Freedom.

             During the tests, electronic warfare experts suspended the Chinook and then rotated it to measure a series of antenna patterns.

             The team also placed radar-absorbing materials on the aircraft to help determine the best placement of radar warning receive, or RWR, antennas. Together, the tests determined if improvements on the existing placement of the Chinook's RWR antennas were warranted, said Mike Sikorski, an Edwards radio frequency engineer.

             The Edwards team worked with the U.S. Army’s technology applications program office and lead contractor ITT Avionics to complete the radar testing. In addition, the Marine Corps Heavy Helicopter Squadron 769 here helped get the Chinook ready for testing after it arrived. With help from an Army crew, they removed the rotors and de-fueled the aircraft prior to testing and also reinstalled the rotors once testing was complete.

             Sikorski and Jim Bartley, also an Edwards radio frequency engineer, worked long hours to ensure the Chinook rolled out of the facility on time. For Sikorski, whose son is assigned to U.S. Army Special Operations Command, it was time well spent.

             "He jumps out of these aircraft," said Sikorski. "I want to help the Army make sure they work perfectly, so that my son and his fellow Army troops are protected when flying into harms way."

             Sikorski said the team designed the antenna pattern measurement tests in a manner that would quickly give the customer the best data possible.

             "We were able to keep the costs down, and the customer walked away with a lot of useful data in just a few days," Sikorski said.



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