USAF Research Lab Sensors Directorate,
Sensor Lab Upgrades & Additions,
AFRL, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

Architectural rendering of the indoor and outdoor ranges added to Building 620.
Photos courtesy Butt Construction Co..

One of the major projects to emerge from the 2005 BRAC Commission was the concentration of AFRL Sensors Directorate facilities from three principal locations--Hanscom AFB, Rome (NY) Research Site, and Wright-Patterson AFB--to a single facility at Building 620, Wright-Patterson AFB. The Howland Company assisted Dayton-based Butt Construction Company with their bid proposal, and when they were awarded the contract in 2009, The Howland Company was retained as System Integrator for the project.

As System Integrator, The Howland Company's role encompassed a broad range of responsibilities:

  • Integrated the mission requirements of five AFRL labs into a
    single antenna range design
  • Provided technical liason to user organizations
  • Developed the detailed range design to achieve AFRL's
    conceptual design
  • Prepared procurement specifications for major range
    components--compact range, turntables, equipment gantry, absorber, etc.
  • Reviewed construction drawings
  • Monitored construction
  • Reviewed test plans
  • Monitored acceptance testing of major components

The Howland Company also conducted a series of measurements to validate the anechoic performance of the completed chamber before installation of the compact range reflector and feeds. By using our one-of-a-kind spherical nearfield imaging system, we were able to verify the quality of the electromagnetic environment in a fraction of the time needed for older techniques.

Compact range reflector and feed enclosure

Compact range reflector and feed enclosure
AFRL Sensor Lab, Bldg 620--Installing equipment in the Indoor Range test preparation area
Installation of mobile gantry in the Indoor Range
test preparation/staging area
  Indoor Range Features:

Multimode Operation:
  • Antenna Pattern
  • Radar Cross Section:
    • Monostatic
    • Bistatic Nearfield
    • Tomographic
  • System Evaluation Capability
Frequency Range:
  • Required: 400MHz - 18GHz
  • Future: 100MHz - 100GHz
Chamber Size (approx.): 90' x 80' x 56'
    (27m x 24m x 17m)
Quiet Zone: 12ft diameter, 12ft long cylinder
Maximum DUT weight: 5000 lbs.
  The Howland Company's spherical nearfield imaging scanner inside the AFRL anechoic chamber.
		  --THC photo by Jason Moore
The Howland Company's Spherical Nearfield Imaging
(SNI) scanner measuring stray signals reflected into
the chamber quiet zone.
  Additional Information: The Howland Company's Spherical Nearfield Imaging Probe set up for scanning the AFRL Sensors Lab new anechoic chamber; this technique verifies the anechoic performance of the chamber and installed absorber material in a fraction of the time needed for older methods.

External Link "Sensors complex to renovate, add laboratory space"
- WPAFB Public Affairs

Download PDF "Anechoic Chamber Performance Characterization Using Spherical Near-Field Imaging Techniques"

External Link  Air Force Research Lab Sensors Directorate

External Link "Greater Synergy Breeds More Capability," Armor & Mobility magazine, January 2011 (Download PDF PDF available here)

Another view of the Spherical Nearfield Imaging Scanner; The Howland Company's measurement technique pinpoints sources of reflection into the chamber's quiet zone.
The Indoor Range during construction AFRL Bldg 620 RYOne anechoic chamber - fire suppression demonstration
  Indoor Range under construction; the single-leaf main door
is 20 feet wide and 40 feet high.
  The Sensor Lab anechoic chamber is one of the largest to be equipped with an FM200 gas fire suppression system. The demonstration shown above discharged six gas nozzles. The completed chamber has 114 of these nozzles.