MERC engineers designed and installed the WR-ALC C-17 / C-5 Radome Test Station (RTS) which tests the C-17 and C-5 nose and tail radomes for anomalies as a screening process before repair and serviceability verification after the radomes have been repaired.
The RTS is a complex system comprised in part of a seven axis radome positioner, an RF source, an RF receiver, a transmit antenna, reference antenna, test antenna, and RF data collection software.
The RF source and transmit antenna are located approximately 500 feet down range from the remaining components of the RTS and are controlled by the PC Workstation data collection software via remote control. All of this is synchronized using GPS timing.
The main part of the system, the positioner, sweeps the radome through azimuth, elevation and roll to precisely simulate a moving radar antenna. Simultaneously, the positioner counter-steers the receive antenna in the azimuth plane in order to remain aligned (on boresight) directly with the transmit antenna.
This pattern is performed initially without the test radome installed to create a base line measurement, then with the radome to obtain loss data. Any readings differing from the base line are considered to be caused by the radome.