Navy begins construction on test range operation center for aviation programs

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, and construction contractor G-W Management Services officials broke ground on the new center of operations for NAWCAD's Atlantic Test Ranges (ATR) on August 24, 2016.

Rear Adm. Shane Gahagan, commander, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), center, and Capt. Scott Starkey, commanding officer, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, lead representatives from their commands and the construction contractor. Photo by U.S. Navy photo.

“It’s great to see this project underway because the new operations center will help us meet the requirements of future major Navy programs, reduce scheduling conflicts and provide more secure information-processing capability for our test ranges,” says Rear Adm. Shane Gahagan, NAWCAD commander.

The project will enable ATR's to support simultaneous test operations for current and future naval aviation programs that will also include unmanned systems and live, virtual, constructive (LVC) battlespace environments.

The addition of the center to the existing ATR facilities will include secure, multipurpose mission test cells that were built to support flight test programs such as the MQ-25A Stingray, Next-Generation Jammer, Next-Generation Air Dominance platform(s), and the Unmanned Aircraft Common Control Station.

Navy officials expect construction to be complete in late 2017. NAWCAD’s Atlantic Test Ranges are fully-instrumented and integrated test ranges that provide full-service support for testing and training for naval aviation aircraft and aircraft systems throughout their service life.

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