The modernization of U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Army test ranges will increase the productivity of fighter aircraft by allowing commonality of testing across multiple ranges. Or at least, that’s the vision of the Department of Defense (DoD) in awarding a $21-million contract to Rockwell Collins to develop a common test and training infrastructure across multiple military test ranges. The contract supports the second production lot of the Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System (CRIIS) for the three branches’ test ranges.
The CRIIS has been developed to replace legacy test range systems, including the Advanced Range Data System (ARDS) and Air-to-Air Range Infrastructure (AARI) systems (see figure). The second production lot will modernize test ranges at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Edwards AFB, Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, White Sands Missile Range, Nellis AFB, Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake, and NAS Point Mugu.
The CRIIS is part of the modernization of U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Army test ranges to speed and standardize testing of the various electronic systems aboard fighter aircraft. (Courtesy of Rockwell Collins)
Through modernization, fighter aircraft can complete range-specific testing at one facility and transfer data to another range during the same day’s activities. The CRIIS supports developmental and operational testing in live, virtual, and constructive test scenarios for F-15, F-16, F/A-18, F-22, and F-35 fighter aircraft. Production work will be performed at Rockwell Collins facilities in Richardson, Tex. and Cedar Rapids, Ia.
“CRIIS provides much needed technology to modernize our U.S. military ranges,” explained Troy Brunk, vice president and general manager of Communication, Navigation, and Electronic Warfare Solutions for Rockwell Collins. “With multi-level security and data link capabilities, the F-35 and other fighter aircraft will be able to perform several missions in a single day by transferring connectivity to multiple ranges, versus a traditional test mission which consists of an exclusive base-to-aircraft data link.”