News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

A. Federated Laboratory Initiative

The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) instituted the federated laboratory concept in FY95. The federated laboratory initiative is a unique combination of the best features of the government and private sectors. Chapters V and VII provide more detail on federated laboratories.

B. Physical Facilities and Equipment

1. Physical Plant

The Army has invested in special facilities that range 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 at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG).

The Army Research Office (ARO), a part of the Army Materiel Command (AMC), but located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, is dedicated to promoting basic research. Its proximity to Duke University, North Carolina state University, and the University of North Carolina facilitates its mission.

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 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 make Orlando, Florida, a center of the Department of Defense simulation activities.

ARL is continuing to upgrade facilities to accommodate consolidations and incoming R&D activities that are relocating under the 1991 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission decision. Construction at Aldephi Laboratory Center will accommodate the mandated BRAC91 relocation of functions from White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico; Fort Monmouth, New Jersey; and Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

The total construction program will add approximately 320,000 square feet to the installation at a cost of $77 million. The $60 million physical sciences building will house the sensor and electronic device personnel relocating from Fort Monmouth, the Sensors Directorate relocating from Fort Belvoir, and the advanced simulation and high–performance computing (ASHPC) directorate.

The R&D computer center will allow the ASHPC directorate to connect with the high–performance and simulation computers located at APG. 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.

Construction at APG includes a materials research facility, out–of–laboratory facility, and the target assembly and storage facility. The recently completed Materials Research Facility (MRF) supports a wide range of basic material research as well as research by other defense, government, and private agency customers.

The out–of–laboratory facility provides for 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 Target Assembly and Storage Facility at APG accommodates 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 Missile Defense Command (SMDC) operates or funds several support capabilities that enhance Army S&T with data and information derived from assessments, analyses, experiments, and tests of both strategic and tactical systems. The Space and Missile Defense Battle Laboratory (SMDBL) has a high–performance computing distribution center consisting of the Advanced Research Center (ARC) and the Simulation Center (SC), both in Huntsville, Alabama. These centers are contractor–operated facilities that consist of government–owned, 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. Over 600 scientists and engineers perform computationally intensive tasks such as investigating nuclear optical and radar system effects, optical signature codes, and computational fluid dynamics codes.

The Edgewood Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ERDEC) maintains surety agent research facilities to support the Army’s chemical and biological defense (CBD) programs. The ERDEC laboratories, equipped with security measures, fume hoods, and exhaust filtration units, perform research and product acceptance work with highly toxic materials. Analogous facilities for investigating medical countermeasures are found at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD). The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Laboratory is the only U.S. facility certified to work with chemical surety materials. It identifies agents, degradation products, and impurities. The collocation of these facilities reduces duplication of effort and administrative costs generated by the particularly sensitive nature of the stored and handled products.

At the Communications–Electronics Command (CECOM), the RDEC has a dynamic facility that can be rapidly reconfigured to replicate existing and evolving tactical command, control, communications, and intelligence/electronic warfare (C3I/EW) battlefield environments. The Digital Integrated Laboratory (DIL)/testbed enables comprehensive evaluations of prototypes, evolutionary system developments, new technologies, commercial products, and systems interoperability. It interfaces with the battle laboratories supporting Advanced Technology Demonstrations (ATDs) and advanced warfighting experiments (AWEs), field sites, contractor testbeds, and simulations staffed with technical engineering experts. The DIL is a fundamental component for systems engineering and integration that focuses on battlefield intelligence, surveillance, situational awareness, combat identification, targeting, and battle damage assessment. External sites connected to the DIL include:

Battle command battle laboratories at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Army battle command systems (ABCS) laboratory, Fort Monmouth.
Joint Interoperability Test and Technology Integration Center, Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

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. The facility demonstrates distributed virtual prototyping activities to 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 virtual prototyping facility includes :

VEtronics simulation and integration laboratories
Survivability Technology Laboratory
Virtual Mockup Facility
Software Engineering Laboratory
Signature Laboratory
Applied Engineering Laboratory
Physical Simulation Laboratory
Armor Integration Laboratory.

2. Facility Consolidation

Major S&T elements in ARL and RDEC activities are also consolidated for efficiency and to accommodate BRAC decisions. Pursuant to BRAC93, five areas of the disestablished Belvoir RDEC have been reassigned to TARDEC. About half have been relocated to Warren, Michigan. New laboratories for water purification opened in 1997.

3. Facility Modernization

Changes in technology and its application to solving Army problems make it necessary to upgrade S&T facilities.

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 state–of–the–art facility for medical research and development missions of WRAIR and the Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI). Planned for a staff of 850 and costing $147.3 million, the new facility will be in the Forest Glen section of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. Locating the laboratory there allows it 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 fully filtered, nonrecirculating air system. Laboratories and scientists’ offices, combined with a between–floors utility distribution system, provide maximum flexibility to accommodate current and future military medical research and development.

Figure VI-4. Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Facility Planned for 1999
Figure VI-4. Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Facility Planned for 1999

The new laboratory’s total area will be nearly 10 percent less than is currently available but that will be offset by an improved floorplan. The space per occupant and construction cost per unit area are below national norms. With the opening of this facility, planned for 1999, military medicine will finally have a state–of–the–art facility. It will allow WRAIR and NMRI to respond to emerging biomedical threats throughout the 21st century.

Biological containment facilities at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) have been renovated. USAMRIID’s biosafety level 4 (BL4) laboratory is one of two maximum containment facilities in the United States. The laboratories incorporate the highest level of engineering to protect workers and prevent environmental release of extremely hazardous infectious organisms. The USAMRIID laboratories are a critical national asset and are frequently called on to support U.S. and international civilian health authorities in characterizing unknown diseases, such as Hanta virus in the southwestern United States and the Ebola virus in Africa.

A human biomechanics laboratory has been established as a joint effort between the Natick Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NRDEC) and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM). This facility allows for world–class research concerning soldiers’ strength, endurance, and load–carrying capabilities.

The trichamber altitude facility at USARIEM permits studying human performance at extremely high terrestrial altitudes. This facility has been enhanced to a fully computerized, environmentally controlled chamber, man–rated at 35,000 feet, that is capable of supporting long–term, live–in studies with complete metabolic monitoring.

Joint Precision Strike (JPS) and the Integration and Evaluation Center (IEC) at the Topographic Engineering Center (TEC) uses wideband and tactical communications links during live and simulated exercises to support Army precision strike training, contingency planning, and survivable armed reconnaissance experimentation. The IEC provides control, data collection, environment and system simulation, and presentation/visualization support for JPS and acts as the central hub of the demonstration network. As a result of a major demonstration in the IEC, the Rapid Terrain Visualization (RTV) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) for rapid mapping and terrain visualization was developed.

4. Strategy for Facility Upgrades

Upgrading S&T facilities requires a judicious mix of renovation and new construction to ensure that the best use is made of facilities funds. As yearly plans are prepared, existing facilities are examined to determine if extensive modifications 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 ensure that all factors are taken into consideration:

Can the activity be relocated to other space available at a lower cost than new construction?
Can the task be passed to another S&T organization that has manpower skills and space to perform the work under a cooperative memorandum of understanding?
Can government elements outside DoD 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 final decision within the Army rests with the laboratory director, the supporting major command, the Department of the Army staff, and, ultimately, the Secretary of the Army. There are outside reviews by DoD, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Congress.

5. 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 20 years in crash damage simulation, testing, and evaluation. Flight dynamics, handling qualities, and crew station design human factors are studied by NASA and Army scientists at the Ames Research Center.. The CECOM RDEC Command and Control Systems Integration Directorate and NASA have formed a Joint Research Project Office at NASA Langley, Virginia. The Army and NASA are working on controls and displays, primarily for aviation, but with applications to all platforms.

Army Collaboration With Academia. The Armaments Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) 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 with a research capability in electromechanics and hypervelocity physics. The center has collaborated with facilities at the University of Texas–Austin, the EARC, and the Defense Special Weapons Agency’s (DSWA) 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 (YPG).

Figure VI-5. Electric Gun Concepts are Evaluated Using Unique Armament Test Facilities
Figure VI-5. Electric Gun Concepts are Evaluated Using Unique Armament Test Facilities

ARL provides overall technical and contractual oversight for the Army High–Performance Computing Research Center (AHPCRC) at the University of Minnesota, with assistance from Purdue, Howard, and Jackson State universities.

The High–Energy Laser System Test Facility, managed by SMDC, is a tri–service facility with the Navy and Air Force. The sea lite beam director (SLBD) is the only one capable of transmitting a high–energy laser beam, and provides extremely high pointing and tracking accuracies for near–Earth–orbit object tracking.

6. Ranges

As environmental issues become more prominent, M&S consumes a larger portion of the S&T budget. Some range testing must precede development. One S&T range is the large blast thermal simulator being built by DSWA at White Sands Missile Range 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 and the Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA). ARL recently completed a test range facility for advanced aerospace vulnerability. It is an aircraft and missile vulnerability/lethality test facility. It is particularly well suited for congressionally mandated live–fire tests of Army aircraft, missiles, and antiair weapons.

Figure VI-6. Large Blast/Thermal Simulator
Figure VI-6. Large Blast/Thermal Simulator

Kwajalein Missile Range (KMR), Marshall Islands, Pacific, is a major range and test facility base managed by SMDC for DoD. KMR supports strategic and theater missile defense research and technology validation programs for the Army and the Ballistic Missile Defense Office (BMDO), as well as strategic offensive weapons system development and operational testing conducted by the Air Force and Navy. KMR assists in tracking and monitoring NASA space missions and provides deep–space tracking for the U.S. Space Command.

The Army Missile Optical Range at the Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) supports laser and laser radar measurements of selected material targets.

7. Specialized Equipment

The Army has invested substantially in sophisticated special–purpose items, such as those described below.

Several Army laboratories and centers have molecular beam epitaxy equipment to grow new semiconductor device structures with atomic dimensions. This technology applies to electro–optical sensor materials with higher resolution and greater sensitivity and signal processing devices with higher speed and greater throughput capability.

ARL’s ion implantation facility (Figure VI–7) provides a state–of–the–art capability for developing and demonstrating ion surface treatments and coating techniques for Army materiel such as machine tools and parts that are subject to corrosive or high–wear environments.

Figure VI-7. Ion Implantation Facility
Figure VI-7. Ion Implantation Facility

ERDEC has a scanner and a laser alignment system to generate a three–dimensional (3D), digitized surface contour of a human head. Data can be transferred to a numerical control cutting machine to generate a model of a head. This is used for anthropomorphic assessments related to developing CB respirators.

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