Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT January-March 2011 Contents Preparation Poses
Evaluating equipment in an extremely
cold natural environment makes test
preparation immensely challenging.
Foremost among the tasks in summer
is arranging the shipping of test items.
Since alaska cannot be reached by land
without passing through another coun-
try, large items such as combat vehicles
typically arrive by barge and can only
make the journey using companies that
are equipped to handle secure items.
receiving ordinary items can be dif-
ficult in winter, too. Fairbanks, the
nearest major city to crTc, is about
100 miles away, and most of the jour-
ney is over a winding 2-lane highway
prone to heavy ice and snow.
as such, crTc attempts to stock up on
necessary supplies in advance of inclem-
ent weather whenever possible. That
alone is a formidable task; aside from
the difficulty of knowing which spare
parts might be necessary on an item
that has never been tested in extreme
cold, testers don’t want to hoard mate-
riel that might be needed in theater.
Despite these hardships, crTc per-
sonnel are prepared to negotiate the
weather whenever necessary. When an
axle on a test vehicle failed during a test
last year, for example, the item’s normal
supply chain was unable to provide
a timely replacement. crTc testers
turned to their counterparts in yuma,
who expedited shipping of a replace-
ment. The part arrived at crTc in a
relatively fast 9 days, and the vehicle
maintenance team worked all night
to install it. Since testers had altered
the schedule to continue subtests that
didn’t require the vehicle to be mobile,
the test resumed after the repair with a
net loss of only 1 day.
crTc test officers constantly apprise
their customers of events that could
impede testing, and they strive to have
contingency plans in place to cope with
Maintaining the Range
Extreme cold is a coveted commodity
at crTc. In the winter, crTc test
officers scrutinize weather conditions
at several microclimates within the
range to take advantage of the lowest
temperatures, moving vehicles and test
items from place to place as necessary.
Test officers are excited that this winter
is expected to be even colder than usual.
yet any type of construction—be it
berms or electrical conduits, culverts
or roads—is difficult or impossible
to complete when the ground freezes.
“The ground is like concrete in winter,”
said Electronic Technician Wayne
robertson. “The freeze reaches down
about 10 feet.”
Further, the long summer days rou-
tinely bring weeds that, if untended,
can grow to 6 feet high. Spring 2010
had heavier-than-usual rainfall, which
resulted in particularly heavy growth.
another important summer project for
the crTc staff is sealing cracks and
performing other maintenance work
on the cold-weather test track. In
winter, test officers intentionally put
water on portions of the track, creating
ice pads to test vehicle traction. If
cracks are not fixed in summer, melting
water will seep in and heave the asphalt
when it refreezes.
The sophisticated and sensitive instru-
mentation that crTc personnel use
to measure performance data is not
immune to the effects of harsh cold,
which makes recalibrating instruments
another important summertime project.
crTc’s ranges are a veritable outdoor
laboratory, and collecting weather data
is critical to ensuring successful testing.
This summer, the meteorology team
completed the installation of three Sonic
Detection and ranging stations that
can gather wind data at altitudes as high
as 10,000 feet, replacing the need for
weather balloons for these relatively low
altitudes. The team also replaced infra-
structure such as towers, outfitting them
with new or recalibrated instruments.
aside from crTc’s inventory of
sophisticated equipment, the buildings
that house its operations also need to be
maintained in the summer. One small
building had sunk significantly off
plumb from repeated freezes and thaws
of the ground beneath it. The problem
was solved with some big equipment
and several pairs of hands to lift the
building onto steel support beams.
Test Officer Dave Hoffman checks a collection bottle on a berm that will be used in an upcoming long-
term test of the environmental effects of spent ammunition in soil. The 2010–11 winter test schedule is
slated to be the busiest in recent memory, necessitating as many as 36 temporary workers, about double
the number hired last year.
76 january–march 2011
Links Archive Army ALT April-June 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page