ITEA Journal Archives
Current Issue of The ITEA Journal
T&E Challenges and Issues
The theme for this issue is T&E Challenges and Issues, and we selected articles and features that touch on many diverse aspects of these challenges. Due, in part, to technology improvements and changing international situations, challenges are the rule, not the exception in test and evaluation (T&E), and innovation is a necessity not a choice. Budget and schedule constraints are always a fixture to be contented with, but the daunting, moving task facing us is addressing the technological hurdles. New system complexity increases as technology allows designers to do more in a smaller package. But testing is for the market today and for the future environments. Therefore, test technology must evolve faster than those systems to be tested, and test infrastructure must procure instruments that are more sensitive than the systems to be measured. The number of ranges available and facilities on those ranges may continue to diminish, and encroachment on land boundaries and communication spectrum will accelerate. Autonomous and cognitive systems present all new test requirements, and cyberspace testing pushes us beyond thinking outside the box – there is no box to contain cyberspace. T&E challenges range from characterizing the required test environment, providing production representative articles for operational testing, and producing adequate threat systems of all kinds for test. These challenges increase as we continue assimilating emerging technology and conducting more distributed testing, while facing challenges such as a shortage of critical skills, loss of test facilities, increased use of hypersonic systems, and integrating new systems with legacy systems quickly.
In his Guest Editorial, Mr Frank Kendall (Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) provides his ‘‘Perspectives on Developmental Testing.’’ Mr Kendall mentions the rebuilding of the developmental test and evaluation (DT&E) organization in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), and then describes the role DT&E plays in OSD programs, important principles that should be applied in developmental testing, and common problems noted to relate to the effectiveness of DT&E. These problems include some of the ways that DT&E does not meet its purpose and allows acquisition issues to continue.
Mr Dave Duma (Operational Test and Evaluation, Principal Deputy Director, OSD) discusses ‘‘Meeting the Challenges of the Five Fs – Flora, Fauna, Folks, Frequency, Fuel’’ with a focus on effectively supporting development of new technologies and systems that are intended and designed to keep our forces the best equipped in the world. He discusses legislative proposals, cooperative outreach and partnerships, and modeling past successes to meet future challenges.
In our special features, we have an outstanding book review and a very interesting Part II (conclusion) to our look at the Air Engineering and Development Center. For our Book Review, Dr Steve Hutchison (Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Developmental Test and Evaluation, Director, Test Resource Management Center, OSD) discusses Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams and highlights that agile is more about quality than speed and is a lesson probably more broadly applicable than just to software development. In Historical Perspectives, Arnold Air Force Base Historian David Hiebert completes his look at the 60-year history of the premier developmental testing center that started as the Air Engineering Development Center.
Our selection of technical articles covers topics from tactical biometric devices to information sharing for next generation air transport systems, from simulations of micro air vehicles to landing unattended aerial systems on moving landing platforms, from Joint interoperability testing to infrasonic propagation models, and finally to distorted inlet flow fields.
In the article ‘‘Tactical Tactical Biometric Devices: Establishing Operational Test and Evaluation Techniques to Improve Design and Performance,’’ Kelly N. Faddis (Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas) et al, detail the current state of testing, identify gaps in current practices, and suggest novel strategies to address the challenges of tactical biometric device evaluation while operating within resource constraints. Kelly states that novel operational test and evaluation (OT&E) techniques for biometrics can inform new designs to optimize the operational performance. OT&E of tactical biometric devices presents unique challenges related to biometric data quality, interoperability metrics, the impact of environmental factors, the prevalence and impact of operator error, and test population size and composition.
In his article ‘‘A Cross-Domain Information Sharing Test Bed for Next Generation Air Transportation System Interagency Experimentation,’’ R. Douglas Flournoy (The MITRE Corporation, Bedford, Massachusetts) et al, highlight a cross-domain solution test facility created by networking three Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) laboratories to flow simulated aviation data between them. Test bed architectures are described, highlighting key simulations and systems that exchange data across the labs. Then, specific test activities are outlined, and preliminary test results are provided. Finally, plans for ongoing exploitation and expansion of the test bed are presented. The article makes the case that interagency experimentation will be a powerful systems engineering tool for achieving multi-stakeholder consensus on key system concepts.
In the article, ‘‘Highly Accurate Simulations of Low Reynolds Number Micro Air Vehicle Wing Aerodynamics,’’ Raymond E. Gordnier (Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Vehicles Directorate, Computational Aerophysics Branch, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio) et al, looks specifically at different types of computational explorations to better explain the aerodynamic flow behavior of micro air vehicles. In one type of computation explored, the high-order method furnishes a unique, scalable computational capability that has been specifically created to address the simulation issues associated with highly nonlinear, unsteady, transitional flows inherent to micro air vehicles. These computations are performed to better understand unsteady, low-Reynolds number aerodynamics, which are critically important in providing insight into the flying characteristics of natural fliers and exploiting natural aerodynamic efficiencies for micro air vehicle development.
Our articles then transition from micro air vehicles to large vertical take off and landing (VTOL) unattended aerial systems (UAS). In his article ‘‘Development of Navigation and Automated Flight Control System Solutions for Maritime VTOL UAS Operations,’’ Mark Hardesty (Flight Test Director, Engineering Flight Test, The Boeing Company, 5000 East McDowell Road, Mesa, Arizona) et al, explores how testers can conduct pretest risk reduction experiments to increase the probability of system success in future test events.
Specifically, this article describes a recent companysponsored flight test effort to integrate and demonstrate a novel and highly precise navigation system for use in a maritime environment. Early experimentation on moving ground targets and towed sea targets for landing led to incremental system modifications and ultimately a final successful test. The discussion includes discussions of modifications to the test helicopter, flight crew and engineering test crew training and qualification, and operational theory and an evaluation of the precision navigation solution. The resulting method guided the Boeing H-6U to a predetermined precision landing anywhere on a ship deck, regardless of deck dimensions.
In the article ‘‘Challenges of Joint Interoperability Testing in an Agile Environment,’’ Tim Cook (United States Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois) et al, discusses the Agile Transportation for the 21st Century (AT21) Program. The United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) is using agile software methods to design, develop, test, and deliver quality software to the warfighter at an accelerated pace. Implementing agile software has caused several challenges, as USTRANSCOM modified its traditional testing and changed in organizational culture, and as the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) tailored its processes to support the rapid software release schedule. This article provides a history of the USTRANSCOM and JITC partnership and describes the Joint Interoperability Certification (JIC) challenges USTRANSCOM encountered with the agile process. Through this new process, USTRANSCOM and JITC have developed agile processes and practices involving all stakeholders during the planning, development, and testing using agile collaboration and continuous communication.
In his article ‘‘Topography and Tree Cover in Infrasonic Propagation Models,’’ Stephen A. Ketcham (United States Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, Mississippi) et al, describes his team’s approach to represent forested volumes as a flow-resisting porous material. His team’s interest was in infrasound – sound below 20 Hz that can propagate very long distances and remain at measurable levels. At local ranges, terrain relief is capable of scattering and blocking the propagation; a similar interaction caused by discontinuous stands of trees was investigated in this research. He then describes the findings that a model with topography but without tree cover has conformity with measured signals, that addition of tree-cover properties in models does not improve this conformity, and that this result is consistent with theoretical expectations for the forest densities modeled.
For our final article, Darius D. Sanders and Michael G. List (Air Force Research laboratory, Fans and Compressors Branch, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio) describe their research and findings relative to understanding the inlet conditions for an air vehicle engine in ‘‘Simulation of Distortion Generation in a Modern Serpentine Diffuser to Improve Experimental Effectiveness.’’ Modern serpentine diffusers create distorted flow fields, which are ingested by propulsion systems. Simulation of the effects of the diffuser provided a number of insights for a complementary experimental program including evaluation of placement and seeding locations, necessary resolution of measurement, and expectations of operational range and conditions. Analysis of the results provided better definition of some experimental requirements and sensitivities for capturing multiple per-revolution distortions.
We hope you enjoy this issue of the ITEA Journal, and your feedback is welcome. We are busily gathering articles by 1 March for our June 2013 issue with the theme ‘‘The Changing Face of Developmental Test and Evaluation.’’ Please feel free to submit an article or solicit others to submit an appropriate article for upcoming issues.