A Royal Canadian Air Force CH-147F Chinook recently became another airframe to undergo electronic warfare testing in the Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
The BAF, operated by the 772nd Test Squadron, is the largest anechoic chamber in the world and can fit any aircraft inside. It provides a “free space” so electronic warfare tests can be conducted without radio frequency interference from the outside world. The chamber is filled with polyurethane and polyethylene pyramids designed to stop reflections of electromagnetic waves. The size of the pyramids, which are painted dark blue or black, varies depending on the particular frequency and test procedure being conducted. Aircraft systems can be tested and verified that they work properly prior to actual flight test.
The BAF is the closest thing to actually flying an aircraft in a radio frequency threat environment, that allows testers to execute multiple test objectives in a controlled facility and collect data to evaluate the Chinook’s electronic systems.
Leaders at the 772nd TS said this particular test was a Reciprocal Use of Test Facilities Project Arrangement between the Department of National Defence of Canada and the Department of Defense of the United States of America, which is arranged through the Secretary of the Air Force’s International Affairs department, the U.S. State Department and the Canadian government.
According to the Royal Canadian Air Force, the CH-147F Chinook is an advanced, multi-mission, medium to heavy-lift helicopter. It is used to transport equipment and personnel during domestic or deployed operations. Since its most recent upgrade, the CH-147F has increased its internal fuel capacity, allowing it to fly twice as far as previous models.
The F-model Chinooks provide logistical and mobility support to the Canadian Army and their special operations forces. They have also been used to support other government departments, law enforcement agencies and civil authorities, according to the Royal Canadian Air Force.
This is not the first time the BAF has hosted a Canadian aircraft, electronic warfare testing was done on a CC-130J Hercules transport plane in 2016.