NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron is scheduled to open its new data lab facility Feb. 8.
The new lab is being built to accommodate the new F-35 Lightning II slated to arrive here this year along with the existing F-22 Raptors.
With the F-35 being more advanced than the legacy fleet of F-15 Eagles and Strike Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, the data lab will be a key component to capturing all information from the aircraft to aid in better testing and evaluation of tactics when it goes out to the field, said Paul Martinez 59th TES flight test instrumentation chief.
The information is captured by a data acquisition record telemetry pod, a sensor that is inserted into the aircraft and is set to record all information regarding what the aircraft does when it is testing.
“The F-35s and F-22s produce an amazing amount of information, and our data lab allows us to harness that information to produce combat capability for the warfighter,” said Lt. Col. Derek O’Malley, 59th TES commander.
“The facility that was built for the [F-22s] did not support the servers, power distribution or the space for the F-35,” said Kenny Miller, 59th TES data lab manager. “Over the years and through lessons learned, we knew what kind of things we were going up against when this new aircraft was coming.”
Planning for the 23,000 square foot facility began in 2004 and totaled approximately $4.6 million in renovations and new equipment.
“The facility we have now lays out a complete infrastructure space wise, environmentally and with power distribution. The growth is just phenomenal,” Miller said.
“It’s a real money-saver for our test effort because we’re combining all F-22 and F-35 data analysis,” he added.
This new facility will also house two key sections to the data lab in one place, which will become more productive and convenient for testing of the new aircraft.
“We have two sides of the house,” Miller said. “One side is the data lab section, and the other side is the flight test instrumentation side. Together we have joined forces to support both air frames.”
The developers of the data lab include Paul Martinez, Ari Paez, Mike Jepson and Kenny Miller, all of whom had a vital role in producing the state-of-the-art building.
“Their design was perfectly tailored for our mission needs, but it was done in a way that was responsible with Air Force funds,” O’Malley said.
The data captured for testing and evaluating the F-35s and F-22s will be instrumental in creating new tactics for the field.
“It’s a great facility for us to support both aircraft,” Miller said. “We’re very proud of it.”