New Airborne Countermeasure Test System incorporates advanced systems developed at Lincoln Laboratory

In April 2008, Lincoln Laboratory’s newest airborne test system, the second Airborne Countermeasure Test System (ACTS 2), completed its maiden flight. ACTS 2 is built on an HU-25 airframe obtained as government-furnished equipment from the U.S. Coast Guard. The new system will be used to develop and test more robust electronic protection and electronic attack systems for the U.S. Air Force. The system relies heavily on open architecture principles, using a highly modular design for both hardware and software. At a hardware level, the aircraft has been fitted with multiple external locations for antenna “farms,” with power and signal feeds preinstalled to each of those locations from the aircraft cabin. Within the cabin, there are multiple common equipment and operator stations. Each equipment station has a set of common interfaces for power, data and control feeds, and mechanical attachment to enable rapid reconfiguration. At a software level, system control and data recording are enabled by common console software that allows any operator to control, reconfigure, or review data from any of the onboard hardware systems.

The hardware in ACTS 2 incorporates a number of advanced systems developed at Lincoln Laboratory. These include a superwideband compressive receiver that enables rapid detection of low-level signals over very wide bandwidths; Laboratory-designed and -built RF and digital signal processor–based components, such as a modular digital RF memory for quickly and accurately reproducing and retransmitting received waveforms; and a wideband data acquisition system that enables waveform recording on board. The combination of these hardware components provides a very versatile system for a wide range of potential flight tests.

Photo of new test bed aircraft

First flight of the new test bed aircraft developed by Lincoln Laboratory for electronic warfare testing took place at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts. The new test bed will help the Air Force develop more robust capabilities in this area.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted May 2008

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