By Kristen Kushiyama, CERDEC Public Affairs
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (March 9, 2015) — Elements of the U.S. Army will complete and occupy a state-of-the-art research, development and engineering hangar in less than a year that will aid in the support of aviation related projects for the advancement of Command, Control, Computers and Communications and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, known as C4ISR, technologies.
By Spring 2016, elements of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center are scheduled to move into the 107,000 square foot facility at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station portion of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-New York District Army is overseeing the construction by Pennsylvania-based Bedwell Company.
The hangar will supplement a World War II hangar that has degraded over time and will no longer sufficiently support the mission of the CERDEC Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate Flight Activity, which will occupy both the current and new hangar spaces for the near future.
Located on the only tri-service joint base in the country, the hangar and immediate surrounding area will include high-bay and low-bay aircraft hangars, aircraft-component maintenance shops, administrative facilities, a fixed-wing taxiway and a rotary-wing landing pad, said Henry Muller, CERDEC Intelligence and Information Warfare director.
The new hangar will allow for increased aviation support by the CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity, which provides total end-to-end aviation support for emerging C4ISR technologies, quick-reaction capabilities to units, and post-production aircraft modifications for program executive offices and project managers.
“The need to get technology in flight and into its intended environment early in the development cycle is evident. Whether a new type of antenna, a heliborne Electronic Warfare system, or a sensor technology destined for use on a fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft, the CERDEC Flight Activity must be able to support it all,” said Charles Maraldo, CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity director.
In addition to CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity employees occupying the hangar, some employees from CERDEC’s Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate, Command Power and Integration Directorate, and Software Engineering Directorate, and the Communications-Electronics Command will also work in the hangar.
Having a government run, highly-skilled workforce that can support integration and experimentation across multiple programs, allows the cross fertilization of ideas and lessons learned across multiple projects, Maraldo said.
The CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity provides a unique development and integration capability for airborne C4ISR to government agencies, academic institutions or industry partners with valid Defense Department missions, and the increased capabilities and space will allow CERDEC to maintain and expand its support to C4ISR-aviation systems programs, Maraldo said.
The hangar will allow for the continued work conducting integration for all types of electronic systems destined for use on aviation platforms and allow for the maintenance and operations of the aircraft assigned to the CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity to be done safely and efficiently, Maraldo said.
In addition to the contiguous 20-mile-wide area of JB MDL, the CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity has access to the restricted airspace over the Atlantic Ocean and New Jersey Pine Barrens. It can also leverage facilities and airfields such as Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, or anywhere worldwide a mission needs to take place.
The CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity works closely with other CERDEC elements to take advantage of the facilities and resources at APG to work in a cohesive test environment across location boundaries. This allows them to integrate systems and perform modifications at the JB MDL facility; base and execute missions in the aforementioned environment and via robust networking capability connect to the Systems Integration Lab environments established in APG, Maraldo said.
The CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity takes advantage of Phillips Army Airfield at APG by taking an aircraft to APG for evaluation, demonstration or display purposes, and not having to replicate the capabilities and investment already made at the CERDEC Flight Activity at JB MDL, Maraldo said.
The CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity also partners with CERDEC’s Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate Flight Activity at Fort Belvoir’s Davison Army Airfield. Though the CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity and CERDEC NVESD Flight Activity have different aviation missions, they share resources such as contracts, Army Civilian Pilots, aircraft, facilities and Airworthiness Release boards.
The CERDEC Flight Activities collectively operate a fleet of aircraft maintained in strict accordance with Army Standards. The total CERDEC I2WD fleet includes three UH-60 Blackhawks including a UH-60M, a UV-18 Twin Otter fixed wing aircraft and two C-12 type aircraft, and the CERDEC NVESD Flight Activity has two UV-18 Twin Otters, UH-60A Blackhawk, a YEH-60A and two UAV helicopters.
As the CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity continues moving its mission forward, it is poised to provide another several decades of top-notch aviation support and expertise in its new facilities while teaming with the other Army aviation organizations to provide the maximum benefit to the U.S. Army Warfighter, Maraldo said.
This article appears in the March/April 2015 issue of Army Technology Magazine, which focuses on aviation research. The magazine is available as an electronic download, or print publication. The magazine is an authorized, unofficial publication published under Army Regulation 360-1, for all members of the Department of Defense and the general public.
The Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness–technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection and sustainment–to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.