2. Physical Facilities and Equipment
This subsection discusses facilities and equipment available to the Army to carry out its science and technology mission. It includes physical plant; facility consolidation; facility modernization; facility upgrade strategy; facilities shared with other organizations, inside and outside the DoD; ranges and testing facilities; and special equipment and computer resources.
a. Physical Plant
The Army has invested significant resources in special facilities, ranging from small, uniquely designed, state-of-the-art laboratories such as the Corps of Engineers' Ice Engineering Laboratory to large-scale facilities using sophisticated instrumentation required to measure and support the evaluation of myriad system prototypes and weapon systems under development, such as those located at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Many facilities have been developed in partnership or under a leveraging agreement with other services, government organizations, industry, or academia.
The Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation Command (STRICOM) is located in a modern facility in Orlando, Florida. The command is collocated with the Naval Air Warfare Training Systems Division. STRICOM, the Navy command, the University of Central Florida's Institute for Simulation and Training, and many local defense contractors, are making Orlando the center of DoD simulation activities.
The Army Research Laboratory is continuing the upgrading process to accommodate consolidations and incoming R&D activities, which are relocating under the 1991 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission decision. Construction at Aldephi Laboratory Center (ALC) will accommodate the BRAC91- mandated relocation of functions from White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico; Fort Monmouth, New Jersey; and Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Several projects make up the total construction program, which will add approximately 320,000 square feet to the installation at a cost of $77 million. The largest of the projects is the $60 million Physical Sciences Building, which will house the Sensors and Electron Devices personnel relocating from Fort Monmouth, New Jersey; the Sensors Directorate, relocating from Fort Belvoir, Virginia; and the Advanced Simulation and High Performance Computing (ASHPC) Directorate. The R&D computer center will allow the ASHPC Directorate to tie to the high-performance and simulation computers located at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Completion of the Physical Sciences Building is scheduled for July 1998. The recently completed, high-bay facility accommodates the Information Science and Technology Directorate's research in atmospheric science. It provides loading, transfer, and testing capabilities of special meteorological field research equipment. This facility houses 8,055 square feet of laboratory/high-bay space and 2,109 square feet of offices. ALC construction also includes a modification of the current heat-chill plant to accommodate the increase of facilities.
Construction at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) includes a Materials Research Facility, Out-of-Laboratory facility, and the Target Assembly and Storage Facility. The new Materials Research Facility at APG was authorized in 1994. It will accommodate the ARL material scientists and engineers of the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate--many of whom were formerly from Watertown, Massachusetts, and Fort Belvoir, Virginia. This $80 million facility will support a wide range of basic materials research and other defense, government, and private agency customers. Occupancy of the facility is scheduled for June 1997.
Construction began in 1995 on an Out-of-Laboratory facility that would provide electromagnetic pulse survivability and vulnerability analysis and testing capabilities for all of DoD. Vulnerabilities are found through exposure to low-level fields and then verified with current injection devices. The Out-of-Laboratory facility will house the fabrication of the current injection devices and subsequent system testing. The facility is expected to be completed in 1996.
The Target Assembly and Storage Facility, on the north end of Spesutie Island at APG, was completed in July 1996. It houses the assembly and storage of classified targets and also provides the specialized capability to work with heavy-metal armor such as depleted uranium.
The U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command (USASSDC) operates and/or funds several support capabilities that offer unique opportunities for enhancing Army science and technology with data and information derived from assessments, analyses, evaluations, experiments, and tests of both strategic and tactical systems. The Advanced Research Center is a contractor-operated computer facility located in Huntsville, Alabama, which contains a variety of government-owned hardware resources. These consist primarily of general purpose application development processors that provide a wide range of architectures. These resources can be configured to support a variety of experiments and developmental activities. The Simulation Center provides computer time for over 600 scientists and engineers to perform computationally intensive tasks such as investigating nuclear optical and radar system effects, optical signature codes, and computational fluid dynamics codes. The command also houses a Digital Emulation Technology Laboratory which specializes in the design and utilization of parallel processing techniques.
The Edgewood Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ERDEC) maintains surety agent research facilities to support the Army's chemical and biological defense programs. The laboratories are fully equipped with security measures, fume hoods, and exhaust filtration units to perform work with highly toxic materials for research and product acceptance purposes. Analogous facilities for investigating medical countermeasures are found at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense. Having these facilities at the same installation reduces duplication of effort and administrative costs generated by the particularly sensitive nature of the products stored and handled. The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Laboratory is the only such facility in the United States certified to work with chemical surety materials and is used to identify agents, degradation products, and impurities.
The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) Research, Development, and Engineering Center (RDEC) has a dynamic integrated facility that can be rapidly reconfigured to replicate diverse existing and evolving tactical Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence/Electronic Warfare (C3I/EW) battlefield environments. The Digital Integrated Lab/Testbed enables and facilitates comprehensive evaluations of new prototypes, evolutionary system developments, new technologies, commercial products, and systems interoperability. It interfaces with the Battle Labs supporting Advanced Technology Demonstrations (ATDs) and Advanced Warfighting Experiments (AWEs), field sites, contractor testbeds, and simulations staffed with technical engineering experts at all these facilities. The Digital Integrated Lab/Testbed is a fundamental component for systems engineering and integration focusing on battlefield intelligence, surveillance, situational awareness, combat ID, targeting, and battle damage assessment. External sites that are connected to the Digital Integrated Lab/Testbed via the Army Interoperability Network (AIN) and the Defense Simulation Internet (DSI) include:
- Battle Command Battle Labs at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
- Army Battle Command Systems (ABCS) Laboratory, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey
- Joint Interoperability Test Center, Fort Huachuca, Arizona
- Technology Integration Center, Fort Huachuca, Arizona
- Other government and contractor locations
The Virtual Prototyping Infrastructure at the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) is revolutionizing the military ground vehicle development process. This new initiative will develop and demonstrate a synergistic, distributed virtual prototyping activity that will integrate and interface advanced concepts in mobility, survivability, electronics, lethality, command and control, design, and manufacturing into any phase of a system. These activities support numerous ATDs and AWEs. The TARDEC Virtual Prototyping facilities include:
- Vetronics Simulation Laboratory
- Survivability Technology Laboratory
- Virtual Mock-up Facility
- Vetronics Integration Laboratory
- Software Engineering Laboratory
- Signature Laboratory
- Applied Engineering Laboratory
- Physical Simulation Laboratory
- Armor Integration Laboratory
b. Facility Consolidation
In addition to the consolidation of major S&T elements into ARL, S&T activities of the RDECs are also undergoing consolidation, some because of BRAC decisions and others in the quest for further efficiencies. Pursuant to BRAC 93, five business areas of the disestablished Belvoir RDEC have been reassigned to TARDEC. About half have relocated to Warren, Michigan, into reconditioned office space. New laboratories for water purification are under construction and will open in December 1996.
c. Facility Modernization
Changes in technology and its application to solving Army problems make it necessary to upgrade S&T facilities.
The Joint Precision Strike (JPS) Integration and Evaluation Center (IEC) at the Topographic Engineering Center (TEC) uses wideband and tactical communications links (e.g., FAST, Trojan Spirit, TACSAT, Global Grid, T-1 lines, video teleconferencing, and DSI networking) to provide connectivity with live and simulated exercises to support Army precision strike training and contingency planning activities across CONUS and OCONUS. This distributed simulation capability is the primary mechanism for Army precision strike and survivable armed reconnaissance experimentation, training, and contingency planning. The IEC provides control, data collection, environment and system simulation, and presentation/visualization support for JPSD and acts as the central hub of the demonstration network. The network includes existing links to the D&SABL, the BCBL-H, DARPA, and the Army Aviation Test Bed; links to Fort Hood and MICOM are being implemented.
The IEC was the site of a major demonstration to the Chief of Staff, Army, of emerging technologies which support the implementation of the information army concept. The demonstration clearly revealed that the rapid generation of digital terrain data would be a key element in meeting long-term Army developmental and operational goals. The results of this and other demonstrations have led to the development of the Rapid Battlefield Visualization Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (RBVACTD) for rapid mapping and terrain visualization.
Phase I of construction has been completed on a facility that will enable the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) to vacate the substandard converted classroom building it has occupied since 1923. WRAIR will be located in a new facility that will provide 475,000 square feet of state-of-the-art medical research and development laboratory for the missions of WRAIR and the Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI). Planned for a staff of 850 and at a cost of $147.3 million, the new facility will be located in the Forest Glen section of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. The decision to locate the new lab in the Forest Glen section of Walter Reed was based on the availability of a long-term site adjacent to six current WRAIR buildings. This allows the new laboratory to be about 20 percent smaller than if it were built elsewhere.
The new building (Figure VI-4) will have a below-ground, self-contained animal facility; three floors above ground for laboratories, offices, and research activities; and a full-filtered, non-recirculating air system. Laboratories and scientist offices will be organized in standard-sized modules that, combined with a between-floors utility distribution system, will provide maximum flexibility to accommodate current and future military medical research and development as program evolution and consolidation continues.
Figure VI-4. New Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) Facility Planned for 1999
The laboratory will be unusually efficient compared with civilian biomedical R&D facilities. Both the space per occupant and the construction cost per unit area will be below national norms. The new lab's final total area will be nearly 10 percent less than is currently available at WRAIR and NMRI, but this will be offset by a much improved floor plan of labs, support spaces, and offices. With the opening of this magnificent facility, planned for 1999, military medicine will finally have a state-of-the-art facility to house its cutting edge research programs and highly skilled personnel. It will allow WRAIR and NMRI to remain key resources able to respond to emerging biomedical threats throughout the 21st century.
The tri-chamber altitude facility at U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) has been enhanced to a fully computerized, environmentally controlled chamber, man-rated at 50,000 feet, capable of supporting long-term, live-in studies with complete metabolic monitoring. This facility is a unique national asset for studying human performance at extremely high terrestrial altitudes.
Co-location of Army medical R&D facilities and equipment at Armstrong Laboratories, Brooks Air Force Base, created a unique facility available for use by DoD investigators studying the bioeffects of electromagnetic radiation. The combination of two high power microwave emitters and large anechoic chambers permits directional control of sources and sensitive assessment of absorption. This state-of-the-art medical research facility will substantially advance the development of exposure standards and protective devices. Unique biological containment facilities at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Disease have been extensively renovated. These laboratories are a critical national asset and are frequently called on to support civilian health authorities in characterizing unknown diseases such as the recent Hantavirus outbreak in the southwestern United States.
A human biomechanics laboratory has been established as a joint effort between the Natick Research, Development, and Engineering Center and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. This facility allows for world-class research concerning strength, endurance, and load-carrying capabilities of U.S. soldiers.
Exciting new rapid prototyping capabilities are being integrated into several of the RD&E centers. Whether Stereolithography, Laminated Object Manufacturing, or other, this new capability is greatly enhancing the visual output of the concept formulation process while using the actual 3-D CAD model. At TARDEC, prototype parts to manufacture vehicles are automatically produced from drawings.
d. Strategy for Facility Upgrades
Upgrading S&T facilities requires a judicious mix of renovation and new construction to assure that the best use is made of facilities funds. As yearly plans are prepared, a close look at existing facilities is conducted to determine if extensive modifications, above those which are possible using mission funds, are required to carry out future plans. An early decision must be made between renovation, which takes a portion of the existing plant out of operation for a period of time, and new construction. The review process involves a number of agencies to assure that all factors are taken into consideration: can the activity be relocated to other space which will be available at a lower cost than new construction; can the task be passed to another S&T organization which has manpower skills and space to perform the work under a cooperative memorandum of understanding; do government elements outside the DoD have the capacity to perform the work in lieu of expanding an Army facility; would the effort be better performed outside the government in a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) or industry? The high cost of new construction can make these alternatives very attractive. The final decision within the Army rests with the laboratory director, the supporting MACOM, the DA staff, and ultimately the Secretary of the Army. Outside reviews by DoD, OMB, and the Congress assure that funds appropriated for major modifications or new construction are wisely invested.
e. Shared Facilities
The Army makes extensive use of facilities controlled by other government organizations. Following are a few examples.
Facilities Shared with NASA
The Army has collaborated with NASA for over 20 years in three areas of vital interest to the Army. Crash damage simulation, testing, and evaluation programs are conducted jointly at the Langley Impact Dynamics Research Facility. Rotor vibration and marginal stability issues are pursued at the Langley Transonic Dynamics Tunnel, where heavy gasses, rather than air, are used to safely address the issues associated with real world test environments.
Aeromechanics issues such as flight dynamics, handling qualities, and crew station design human factors are studied by NASA and Army scientists at the Ames Research Center. A suite of wind tunnels ranging from the AFDD's 7- x 10-foot tunnel to NASA's 40- x 80- x 120-foot Full Scale Tunnel, the Numerical Aerodynamic Simulator, Vertical Motion Simulator, Man-Vehicle Systems Research Facility, Automation Sciences Research Facility, and U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command's Crew Station Research and Development Facility, along with aircraft resident at the Center, provide a unique and synergistic environment for scientific and engineering advancement. Rotorcraft available to support research include the Flying Laboratory for Integrated Testing and Evaluation (FLITE) (NAH-1S with Apache visionics), UH-60 Blackhawk for airloads studies, the joint NASA/Army UH-60 Rotorcraft/Aircrew Systems Concepts Airborne Laboratory (RASCAL), and a UH-1.
The CECOM RDEC Command and Control Systems Integration Directorate (C2SID) and NASA have formed a Joint Research Project Office (JRPO) at NASA Langley, Virginia. The Army is leveraging heavily on NASA to do work on controls and displays, primarily for aviation but with applications to all platforms.
Army Collaboration with Academia
The Army's Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center has developed an in-house electric gun facility, the Electric Armaments Research Center (EARC) (Figure VI-5). The Institute for Advanced Technology was established at the University of Texas in 1990 with a critical research capability in electromechanics and hypervelocity physics. The Center has achieved significant intellectual and collegiate collaboration from the full spectrum of facilities at the University of Texas-Austin, especially the Center for Electromagnetics. It also exploits the capabilities of the EARC and Defense Special Weapons Agency's Green Farm Test Facility. After laboratory tests and development, the electric gun will be range tested at the new electric gun test facility at Yuma Proving Ground.
Figure VI-5. Electric Gun concepts are evaluated using unique armament test facilities.
The Army Research Laboratory provides overall technical and contractual oversight for the Army High Performance Computing Research Center (AHPCRC) initially established at the University of Minnesota, assisted by Purdue, Howard, and Jackson State Universities--the latter two being historically Black institutes of higher learning. The computational facilities at the AHPCRC provide university and Army researchers a unique opportunity to explore challenging computational models which until now, were either impossible or infeasible.
The High Energy Laser System Test Facility (HELSTF), managed by USASSDC, is a tri-Service facility with representatives from the Navy and Air Force on site. The Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser (MIRACL) is the workhorse laser for the site and the only high energy laser operating in the free world. The associated Sea Lite Beam Director (SLBD) is the only laser beam director capable of transmitting a high energy laser beam. The SLBD provides extremely high pointing and tracking accuracies required for near earth orbit object tracking.
As environmental issues become more prominent, the use of modeling and simulation will consume a larger portion of the S&T budget. There are, however, certain activities which require testing on ranges before they can be recommended for development. One example of a needed S&T range is the Large Blast Thermal Simulator being built by the Defense Special Weapons Agency (DSWA) at the White Sands Missile Range. This will be a unique facility for testing combined thermal radiation and airblast nuclear weapons effects (Figure VI-6). This facility is the result of a cooperative program between the Army nuclear survivability technology base program and DNA over the past 11 years. At 20 meters in diameter and 240 meters long, it will be twice the size of the next largest tube, which is located in France.
Figure VI-6. Large Blast/Thermal Simulator
Another example is the Test Range Facility for Advanced Aerospace Vulnerability facility recently completed by the ARL. It is a modernized aircraft and missile vulnerability/lethality test facility that will not only enable increased test output, but will also expand existing capabilities and provide new capabilities to test and assess vulnerabilities to a complete range of ballistic weapons. It is particularly well suited for the conduct of congressionally mandated live-fire tests of Army aircraft, missiles, and anti-air weapons.
Kwajalein Missile Range (KMR) is a major range and test facility base managed by USASSDC for the DoD. KMR supports strategic and theater missile defense research and technology validation programs for the Army and the Ballistic Missile Defense Office, as well as strategic offensive weapons system development and operational testing conducted by the Air Force and Navy. KMR also assists in tracking and monitoring NASA space missions and provides deep-space tracking for the U.S. Space Command. The facility offers a multiplatform network of data gathering devices, providing a diverse mixture of radar, optical telemetry, and scoring sensors to observe and record data for reentry vehicles. These devices also accumulate target signature data for ballistic missile applications.
A final example is the Army Missile Optical Range, a compact laser radar range located at the Aviation and Missile Command. It serves as an experimental facility supporting laser and laser radar measurements of selected materials targets, having the capability of obtaining total cross section measurements, highly resolved doppler data, and full-scale target measurements.
g. Specialized Equipment
Special research needs call for special facilities in the pursuit of excellence. The Army has invested substantially in sophisticated special-purpose items such as those detailed below.
Several Army laboratories and centers have acquired molecular beam epitaxy equipment for use in growing new semiconductor device structures with atomic dimensions. This technology has broad application to a range of Army requirements, such as the need for electro-optical sensor materials with higher resolution and greater sensitivity, and signal processing devices with higher speed and greater throughput capability. The ion implantation facility at the ARL (Figure VI-7) provides a unique, state-of-the-art capability for the development and demonstration of novel ion surface treatments and coating techniques for Army materiel such as machine tools and parts subject to corrosive or high wear environments.
Figure VI-7. Ion Implantation Facility
ERDEC has a one-of-a-kind scanner which utilizes light beam profiling technology with a newly developed laser alignment system to generate a three-dimensional, digitized surface contour of the human head consisting of 600,000 data points. If desired, the data can be transferred to a numerical control cutting machine to generate a model of a head. This capability is used for anthropomorphic assessments related to the development of chemical-biological respirators such as sizing, anatomical dead space volume, dynamic changes in individual facial configuration with time, and variation in facial configuration between individuals. Recent modifications have enhanced its capability while drastically reducing computational time.