An engineering pod being flown

Rockwell Collins and the US Air Force (USAF) have successfully completed the critical design review (CDR) of the Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System (CRIIS) programme, a next-generation military test range system.

Awarded in 2010 to develop the first phase of CRIIS, the CDR milestone marks the start of the integration, test and pre-production phase of the $140m programme.

The next-generation military test range system is being developed by Rockwell to replace the advanced range data system currently in use at major US military test ranges.

Rockwell Collins Surface Solutions vice president and general manager Tommy Dodson said: "Our design provides significant improvement in position accuracy and data link throughput while adding system-level security."

The CRIIS programme is aimed to provide time, space and position information (TSPI), as well as system test data, for the US Department of Defense.

"Awarded in 2010 to develop the first phase of CRIIS, the CDR milestone marks the start of the integration, test and pre-production."

It will support weapon system testing for a variety of platforms, including advanced aircraft, ships, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, ground vehicles and dismounted soldiers.

"One key to the successful CDR was early system integration and performance testing using prototype hardware, providing insight not usually gained until much later in a programme," Dodson said.

"This early system-level testing provided the customer with additional understanding of the maturity of the design."

Technical demonstrations were also performed to show the progress made on critical capabilities such as TSPI, data link, encryption, information assurance and system control.

The CRIIS will be operational at eight test ranges, including Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), Eglin AFB, Nellis AFB, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Naval Air Station Point Mugu, NAS Patuxent River, White Sands Missile Range and Yuma Test Center.

Image: An engineering pod being flown during the early development and testing phase of the CRIIS programme. Photo courtesy, copyright © 2012 Rockwell Collins.

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