Electronic Proving Ground, AZ (ARIZONA)

 

The Electronic Proving Ground is located in Fort Huachuca in Arizona. A part of the Department of Defense Major Range and Test Facility Base, it is also the premier organization of the Army for testing command, communications, control, computer, and intelligence systems and equipment. Because of the extent of its duties, the Electronic Proving Ground can access 76,000 acres of Fort Huachuca and other government- and private-owned land. To continue their work, the Electronic Proving Ground also has offices in Fort Lewis in Washington and Fort Hood in Texas.

Since the Electronic Proving Ground is located remotely, situated in a spot without radio-frequency interference, it is the primary Army Test Center for avionics systems and unmanned vehicles. The Virtual Electronic Proving Ground makes it possible to test a combination of constructive, virtual, and real environments. During the 49 years that the Electronic Proving Ground was in operation, it handled the testings for majority of the electronic and computer systems of the Army.

Test facilities

The test facilities developed by the Electronic Proving Ground contained a number of devices that allowed for distributed-systems test control, acquisition of test data, test stimulation, virtual jamming, and embedded instrumentation. To improve on the capabilities of unmanned and micro aerial vehicles, testing of Global Positions Systems, propagation simulation, and battlefield emulation, and other training activities ensued. To ensure that all data from various types of ground and air systems will be properly collected and tracked, Electronic Proving Ground maintains a full range of services, including a full spectrum for electronics testing. Test facilities at the Electronic Proving Ground include the: C4I test bed, the antenna test facility, environmental test facility, fabrication facility, TEMPEST/EMC/EMI test facility, test control facility, COSPAS-SARSAT test facility, GPS test facility-antenna test facility, and information assurance test facility.

Tests run

Some of the major electronic warfare systems and C41 that the army has and were tested in the Electronic Proving Ground include: the Stryker, Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and below; the Joint Tactical Radio System, Army Airborne Command and Control System; integrated infrared countermeasures, Enhanced Position Location Reporting System; Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System; UAVs; Prophets (signals intelligence and electronic warfare system), and Global Positioning System.

US Army Developmental Test Command

The US Army Developmental Test Command is the primary organization in charge of developmental testing of equipment and weapons in the Army. The Developmental Test Command holds its headquarters at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland and is subordinate to the US Army Test and Evaluation Command, which holds office in Alexandria in Virginia. Over 7,000 professionals, engineers, technicians, scientists, and administrators make up the Developmental Test Command, geared towards ensuring that all equipment to be used by soldiers today in combat give them a decisive edge on the field. In the Department of Defense, the Developmental Test Command boasts of having the largest and most varied of testing capabilities, testing every military hardware out there under precise conditions and diverse environments on various test courses and instrumented ranges.

Apart from the Electronic Proving Ground, the Developmental Test Command operates other test centers, such as the Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland, the Cold Regions Test Center in Alaska, the Redstone Test Center in Alabama, the Tropic Regions Test Center in Arizona, the West Desert Test Center in Utah, the White Sands Test Center in New Mexico, and the Yuma Proving Ground also in Arizona.

US Army Test and Evaluation Command

The US Army Test and Evaluation Command spearheads the testing of all weapons and equipment, of which the Developmental Test Command, the one responsible for the Electronic Proving Ground, is part of. The Army Test and Evaluation Command was established by the Vice Chief of Staff in 1999 with the primary aim of ensuring that all soldiers go to war with equipment and weapons that work. Aside from the Developmental Test Command, the Army Test and Evaluation Command is also in charge of the Army Evaluation Center and the Army Operational Test Command.

Fort Huachuca

A US Army installation under the management of the US Army Installation Management Command, Fort Huachuca is situated in Cochise County in the southeastern portions of Arizona, sitting around 15 miles away north of the Mexican borders. Established in 1913, Fort Huachuca was the base for 20 years for the Buffalo Soldiers, also known as the 10th Cavalry Regiment. During the peak of World War II, Fort Huachuca had enough quarters to accommodate over 25,000 men. In 2010, the fort merely had about 6,500 active soldiers compared to what it had more than 50 years ago, but was joined today by 7,400 family members, and 5,000 civilians. During peak hours of operation, which is between 7am and 4pm on Mondays to Fridays, the fort sees more than 18,000 people, making it a very busy transient installation.

Located east and south of the installation is Sierra Vista, which joined Fort Huachuca in 1971, and to the east and north is Huachuca City. Major tenants in Fort Huachuca include the US Army Intelligence Center and the NETCOM/9th Signal Command (A). The Libby Army Airfield is also located on-site and shares the same runway with the Sierra Vista Municipal Airport. When the need arises, the Libby Army Airfield is also included in the list of alternative landing spots for the space shuttle. Besides the Electronic Proving Ground, the Army Military Auxiliary Radio System, the Joint Interoperability Test Command, and the Information systems Engineering Command call Fort Huachuca home.

Some of the other facilities located at Fort Huachuca include a radar-equipped aerostat maintained for the use of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The aerostat is located northeast of the Garden Canyon and when in use, helps the Drug Enforcement Administration in drug interdiction missions by detecting low-flying aircrafts attempting to enter US borders. Then theres also the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Centers Western Division who call the fort home, although the division is based at the Rosecrans Air National Guard Bases 139th Airlift Wing in Saint Joseph in Missouri.

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