CV-22 wraps up electronic warfare testing

  • Published
  • By Rob Bardua
  • Air Force Flight Test Center Public Affairs
The Air Force's CV-22 tilt-rotor completed electronic warfare testing in the Benefield Anechoic Facility here recently.

The purpose of the electronic warfare tests was to test the suite of integrated radio frequency countermeasures, or SIRFC system, which is the radar warning receiver and electronic countermeasures system for the CV-22.

The testing was a great success, said Maj. Greg Weber, the CV-22 government flight-test director here.

"This last round of tests has basically verified that a lot of our design changes are giving us the type of performance that we're looking for," he said. Throughout testing in the BAF, a building-block approach was used to learn from past testing and implement necessary changes for future tests. The team started testing inside the BAF with antenna-pattern measurements.

"As is always the case, whenever you install antennas on the airplane and begin testing them, there are things that don't exactly work the way some models say they would," said Weber.

After adjustments to the antennas were made, the test team moved on to more than eight weeks of electronic warfare testing, where they examined SIRFC's response to threat systems.

"In electronic warfare testing you get into some of the other performance-related items such as the angle of arrival, the accuracy of the threat information and threat-response time," said Weber.

Some factors cannot be effectively tested in the air, such as the interaction between the SIFRC system and the multimode radar system, according to Rex Wade, Bell-Boeing's electronic warfare lead test engineer.

This type of testing is known as interoperability testing.

"Part of our testing is designed to find not only how well the SIRFC system works, but also seeing how well it works in conjunction with other aircraft systems," said Wade. "So we had to make sure the multimode radar system and SIRFC system didn't hinder each other in performance."

The next step will be for Bell-Boeing to analyze the data from the BAF testing and make recommendations to the CV-22 program office. Once analysis is complete, the test team will take the airplane and fly it on the open-air ranges for testing.

"Overall, the testing went exceptionally well," said Wade. "Everyone on the team put in a lot of hours and worked extremely hard, and we were able to gather a lot more data than we originally expected."

And because of the success of the BAF testing, this could be the last time the CV-22 ever needs to be tested in the BAF, said Weber.

"Over the next year they may decide to tweak an antenna location or see if there's an effect that some of the new hardware will have, so there will always be an opportunity to go back to the BAF," said Weber. "But as of right now, we don't anticipate a need to go back, and we're planning to move on to open-air testing."