Some of the most significant defense-related facilities in the United States are Radar Cross-Section (RCS) test ranges. These facilities, being either contractor or government operated, conduct some of the most sensitive test programs in defense industry.
(Above photo, JUCAS C-1 Pole Model at White Sands Missile Test Range, New Mexico)
RCS ranges are used to test the radar signatures of various objects, most significantly with the aim of measuring the ability to evade radar detection against various radar types.
Stealth platforms like the HAVE BLUE were tested at RCS range in order to validate the design before flight testing, for example, to ensure that the RCS of the aircraft would meet the requirements of the test program.
Due to the sensitive nature of the testing conducted at these facilities, they are typically in isolated areas.
(RATSCAT Advanced Measurement Site, Holloman AFB, New Mexico)
Some of the more well-known sites include DYCOMS RCS test facility at Area 51 (Groom Lake) in Nevada, Lockheed Martin’s Helendale RCS test range in California, China Lake Naval Weapons Testing Center in California, the Northrop-Grumman Tejon RCS facility in California, Kirtland AFB in Albuqueque (New Mexico) and the RATSCAT site at Holloman AFB (New Mexico).
(RCS test range at Sandia National Laboratories inside Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, New Mexico)
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