Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The weirdest-looking aircraft 'hangar' I've ever seen!

I was browsing through the US Air Force's official Flickr photostream today when I came across this picture of a CV-22 Osprey aircraft, its rotors folded, hanging in the anechoic chamber of the 'Joint Preflight Integration of Munitions and Electronic Systems (J-PRIMES)' hangar at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

(Click here for a full-size [2100 x 1400 pixel] image suitable for use as wallpaper)

The entry notes that J-PRIMES "is a room designed to stop internal reflections of electromagnetic waves as well as insulate from exterior sources of electromagnetic noise. J-PRIMES provides this environment to facilitate testing air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions and electronics systems on full-scale aircraft and land vehicles prior to open-air testing."

I looked for more information, and found a useful article on Wikipedia about such chambers. Apparently they're built in two different versions. One provides insulation from external sound - the ultimate in 'soundproof rooms', if you will. (Gizmodo refers to Microsoft's anechoic sound chamber as being 'The Place Where Sound Goes To Die', and describes it as 'freaky'.) The other type (like that pictured above) insulates from electromagnetic waves, so that electronic systems can be tested inside it, free from external interference. They're said to be so effective that being inside one while it's in use may be hazardous to your health.

Anyway, the picture intrigued me; so I thought you might find it interesting too. The aircraft alone cost about $70 million at FY2012 prices, and the anechoic chamber doesn't look like it cost chump change either. Our tax dollars at work!



Graybeard said...

I've spent a few hours in a chamber like that, but no one ever warned us not to be inside them during use, because of the first thing they mention on that Wiki page - you'll interfere with the test (sort of defeats the purpose of spending all that money to make it anechoic).

The warning about staying inside a chamber during a high power test is only a little worse than the "don't take your electric appliance in the bathtub with you" warnings in most AC powered boxes.

It's a cool picture. Never seen a room that big.

Joe Allen said...

I've been in an acoustic anechoic chamber used for testing loudspeakers and it is indeed an offputting experience.

Anonymous said...

The need for anechoic chambers arises from our inability (or unwillingness) to generate the threat RF signal density typical of a hostile IADS on our open-air EW ranges. In the chambers, a combination of actual emitters and direct-injection simulated RF inputs can saturate an EW detection/jamming system (like SIRFC in the CV-22)so we can discover how the system will react in a high-threat environment. Even though the CV-22 would not deliberately enter such an environment, sometimes the mission demands it or the enemy surprises us. The CV-22 is AFSOC'S ride of choice for Special Ops.

Following initial integration into the CV-22, SIRFC has undergone multiple software upgrades to address deficiencies from earlier testing or threat developments.


Mark@Bismarck said...

I don't mind my tax dollars being spent on technology or basic USEFUL research. I DO mind when it's handed out to people who are too lazy to help themselves. All this opportunity and these folks think that their owed something.