HC-144A Mission System Pallet Test Support
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Aviation Logistics Center (ALC) provides full lifecycle engineering and logistics support for all USCG aircraft. The First Article HC-144A Mission System Pallet, a classified system developed to support Department of Homeland Security ISR missions, was delivered to the USCG Elizabeth City facility with integration discrepancies and requirements for new cryptographic key support. These issues needed to be resolved rapidly to support planned test events required to clear major acquisition milestones. The USCG had made a significant investment in first article integration testing and the planned first connectivity test for the classified elements of the tactical data system. More than 30 Government and contractor personnel were assembled for the test, and follow-on order and build activity was dependent upon a successful test event. The Mission System Pallet is equipped with crew stations, communications controls, tactical data display and control systems, radar display and controls, and Electro-Optic/Infrared systems controls and displays.
CDS2 worked with the Communications and TEMPEST section of the Engineering Services Division (ESD) at ALC by providing hands-on support in avionics, aircraft wiring, and communications systems troubleshooting. We resolved multiple discrepancies within the physical integration, and developed procedures for loading and functionality of cryptographic keys for both voice and data communications systems. We evaluated and maintained TEMPEST standards throughout all maintenance activity and system discrepancy resolution, and we successfully established classified communications paths for conduct of voice and data communications test. We also maintained complex communications systems and loaded cryptographic keys on a complex system at a time when little documentation existed to support such activity. This critical Developmental Test and Evaluation (DT&E) support resulted in a successful test event, and identified multiple opportunities for reducing risk within the design and build process. This in turn ensured success of follow-on system deliveries and clearance of all acquisition milestones and the Authority to Operate the Coast Guard’s first airborne Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) terminal.