Testing military equipment for the soldier - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Testing military equipment for the soldier

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)
(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

Our soldiers in the field work with a lot of equipment on a daily basis, but who evaluates the devices and programs on aircraft to know they're safe to be in the warfighter's hands?

There’s a select group in the Army, called Experimental Test Pilots.

Their main focus is testing and Major Cameron Keogh is an experimental test pilot for Redstone Test Center (RTC).
"I still get excited when I think about it," explained Maj. Keogh.

His family moved to Huntsville a little more than a year ago.

"First time I've ever live here. We love the community," said Maj. Keogh.

Day-in and day-out, Maj. Keogh is responsible for taking new, army resources and running it through a series of tests.

"Before it reaches the soldiers and make sure it does what they need it to do. If you're not mentally prepared for this type of job, you will fail," stressed Maj. Keogh.

Maj. Keogh is not alone in his experiments. "There are also other experimental test pilots that work in other organizations across the army. Very small community, so we're constantly in contact," said Maj. Keogh.

Along with the test pilots, flight test engineers, such as Danny Bryant, help get the job done.

"They fly aircraft and the engineers are generally in back collecting data or on ground, talking to them on radio. Take a piece of equipment, take down data requirements that are provided to us and turn that into a test plan. Once the test plan is written and approved, it's then executed upon. With the experimental test pilots, using the test pilots' mission background to draw conclusions about the results," said Bryant, chief engineer of RTC’s Aviation Flight Test Directorate.

Major Keogh recalled one of those tests. "Six and a half to seven hours of flying at night of NVGs, shooting flares every two-5 minutes. They were judging the flares on the ground and seeing exactly what they would do to a threat system. It was a pretty incredible experience," explained Maj. Keogh, “A lot of the things that we were doing, some of them have never been done before. Sometimes you'll fly a flight in your mind 2, 3, 4 times before you ever get in the aircraft and start the rotors. It takes an incredible amount of planning, preparation, understanding of the system you're going to tests."

This is all done in order to get the devices, programs and systems into the battlefield.

"To take a new piece of equipment that could potentially save soldiers’ lives and enhance the mission and say, 'We've tested this. This is good. These are things you need to look out for. Go execute your mission.' It's just a broader spectrum of that same sense of satisfaction," said Maj. Keogh.

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