Wednesday, January 11, 2017

F-35 Anechoic Chamber Testing

Anechoic chambers are rooms designed to stop reflections of either sound or electromagnetic waves and to isolate the aircraft from outside radio signals. The RF absorbers on the walls, floor, and ceiling inside the chamber prevent stray internal RF reflections created for the testing from bouncing back at the aircraft.

Before the F-35A could be tested in the anechoic chamber, the chamber itself needed to be upgraded. A new 270-volt power generator, a fiber optic-based data acquisition system, and equipment for liquid and air cooling were added. The initial testing on the first F-35 was completed in August 2010. “The upgrades to make the facility F-35 compatible and the test itself went so smoothly that we finished nine days ahead of schedule,” said David Hamre, RF testing lead for the F-35. During the test, RF antennas on the F-35 used for targeting, navigation, satellite communication, voice communications, data links, environmental awareness, landing, and the like were assessed to determine if they worked cooperatively with the onboard transmitters and receivers with minimal interference. 

The testing was performed on F-35A AF-3 . Testing on AF-3 included operating the APG-81 radar, electronic warfare system, tactical air navigation system, identification friend or foe system, and the radar altimeter.

“The anechoic chamber tests reduce the amount of avionics testing we have to do in flight"