ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. --
The Test Technology, Analysis and Evaluation Branch, or TSTA, helps execute the mission of Arnold Engineering Development Complex by providing understanding of where test facilities and articles stand today and helping develop where they can go tomorrow.
The Branch, part of the Test Operations Division, located at Arnold Air Force Base, serves AEDC in two key areas – technology and analysis.
“In TSTA, we have some of the best and brightest minds of AEDC tackling our toughest problems in order to provide analysis and evaluation to our National Defense partners, and improving the way we test for the future, so we can truly be second to none,” said Brandon Lucy, chief of TSTA.
TSTA is comprised of a Technology Section, and four Analysis Sections that are embedded with the Aeropropulsion Ground Test Branch, High Speed Systems Test Technology Branch, Propulsion Wind Tunnel Test Branch, and Space and Missile Test Branch. It is the largest branch by government personnel within the Test Operations Division, and also teams with support contractors.
“Our analysts are at the tip of the spear for the work that we do,” Lucy said. “They are the ones providing insights and reports that are the culmination of AEDC efforts back to the National Defense partners that we work with in our test facilities.”
The Analysis Sections provide a value-added product to customers.
“AEDC no longer provides just data to a customer,” said Ben Mills, technical advisor for the Analysis Sections. “We try to answer certain questions: Are we doing the right types of tests? Are we building the right models to get the data that we need? Did we find and collect the data to answer the questions? Did we do it with enough statistical rigor that we can give a verified and validated answer?”
These efforts are crucial to weapons systems development.
“Our subject matter expertise covers a broad range of the acquisition process for our weapons systems,” Mills said. “It includes everything from analysis of alternatives to concept refinement to operations and the lifecycle management of the weapons program.”
Through a working relationship with the test branches and program offices both the Analysis Sections and the Technology Section are able to prepare for the future.
“By working with the program offices, we also better understand the next generation of weapons systems and what is needed,” Mills said. “We can then incorporate that into our Technology Section projects to develop the new techniques and methods to enable us to test the new weapons systems coming in.”
The Technology Section performs work focused on three primary disciplines: Modeling and Simulation, Instrumentation and Diagnostics, and Facility and Testing Technology.
“We work on diverse projects, ranging from the development and application of new modeling and simulation software to the application of new optical techniques that nonintrusively measure flow properties in wind tunnels, in engine test cells and in the engines themselves,” said Dr. Joe Wehrmeyer, technical advisor for the Technology Section.
The efforts of this section also include expanding test facility capabilities and optimizing operations.
“Our team analyzes and models AEDC test facilities to understand how they will operate when used for new types of tests, and to recommend ways to operate them to reduce energy consumption,” Wehrmeyer said.