Aerospace, Excelled: The USA’s Arnold Engineering Development Center

AEDC Space Shuttle Mock-Up Test

AEDC at work
(click to view full)

All contracts below are issued by the Headquarters Arnold Engineering Development Center, Arnold Air Force Base, TN to the Aerospace Testing Alliance in Tullahoma, TN. The contract runs from 2003-2015. As the numbering indicates, only publicly announced contracts over $5 million are covered. Work is performed at Arnold Air Force Base, TN.

June 11/15: The Air Force awarded an approximately $1.5 billion, eight-year contract for the sustainment and test operation of Arnold Engineering Development Complex, with $2 million of this awarded on Wednesday. The AEDC is the world’s largest and most sophisticated flight simulation test facility, with fourteen unique test units worldwide.

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Aerospace Testing Alliance in Tullahoma, TN had a $213.4 million cost-plus award-fee option picked up for the operation, maintenance, information management, and support of Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) for FY 2006. AEDC, named for U.S. Air Force pioneer Gen. Henry "Hap" Arnold, bills itself as "The World's Premier Flight Simulation Test Facility."....
AEDC X-29 Wind Tunnel Test

AEDC at work: X-29
(click to view full)

The Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC), named for U.S. Air Force pioneer Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold, bills itself as “The World’s Premier Flight Simulation Test Facility.” Nearly half of the AEDC’s 58 test facilities are unique in the U.S., and 14 are unique in the world. These specialized test facilities have played a crucial role in the development and sustainment of virtually every high performance aircraft, air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon, missile, and space system in use by all four of the U.S. military services today. The Center has also been involved in the development of every NASA manned space system, many satellites, and numerous commercial aircraft and spacecraft systems.

In 2003, the Air Force consolidated the test operations contract and the base services contract into a single contract for operations, maintenance, information management, and base support, which was awarded to Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA) in Tullahoma, TN.

AEDC Services

AEDC Arnold AFB

AEDC, Arnold AFB

ATA, a joint venture between Jacobs Sverdrup, Computer Sciences Corporation, and General Physics, was publicly announced as the winners of the 12-year, maximum $2.7B contract on June 30/03. This is actually the continuation of a long relationship.

Jacobs Sverdup performed the original AEDC site studies in the late 1940s, and supported the USAF in the complex’s design and buildout during the 1950s. In the 1960s, to support the USA’s space program, the firm’s engineers performed extensive tests on the propulsion units planned for escaping Earth’s atmosphere, orbiting the moon, landing and lifting off from the moon, and returning to Earth. In the 1970s, there was a significant focus shift toward tests on aircraft such as the F-15, F-16, and F-111, to ensure the U.S. held the edge in air superiority. In 1980, the Air Force divided AEDC operations into 3 separate contracts, with Jacobs Sverdup winning the propulsion operations contract. For the next 15 years, they continued propulsion work on programs as diverse as the F-22 and Space Shuttle; in recent years, the test workload is dominated by aerodynamics and propulsion development for national programs such as the F-22, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F-18 E/F, and Delta III and IV.

Aerospace Testing Alliance

In 2003, the Air Force Consolidated the test operations contract and the base services contract into a single contract for operations, maintenance, information management, and base support. In effect, the 3 separate contracts were consolidated back into 1; the 12-year, $2.7B contract was awarded to Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA), a joint venture between Jacobs Sverdrup, Computer Sciences Corporation, and General Physics. JS is the managing partner of ATA, with responsibility for leading the implementation of ATA’s proposed initiatives in areas critical to AEDC’s future operation: technical excellence, effective management and processes, performance dependability, efficient and effective information technology and systems, and cost reduction and control.

In general the ATA provides comprehensive engineering services to support acquisition of new test facilities and systems, and upgrades for existing facilities. Other support can include anything from conceptual and feasibility studies spanning just a few weeks, to multi-year design/build projects for turnkey delivery of complex facilities. Wind tunnels and jet engine/ rocket test facilities are all cited in the firm’s description of AEDC-related work [PDF].

AEDC Contracts

AEDC Space Shuttle Mock-Up Test

AEDC at work
(click to view full)

All contracts below are issued by the Headquarters Arnold Engineering Development Center, Arnold Air Force Base, TN to the Aerospace Testing Alliance in Tullahoma, TN. The contract runs from 2003-2015. As the numbering indicates, only publicly announced contracts over $5 million are covered. Work is performed at Arnold Air Force Base, TN.

June 11/15: The Air Force awarded an approximately $1.5 billion, eight-year contract for the sustainment and test operation of Arnold Engineering Development Complex, with $2 million of this awarded on Wednesday. The AEDC is the world’s largest and most sophisticated flight simulation test facility, with fourteen unique test units worldwide.

Aug 26/14: FY 2015. A $224 million cost-plus-award-fee modification, exercising the FY 2015 option for AEDC operations, maintenance, information management and support. This pushes announced awards to date under the contract to about $2.397 billion of a possible $2.7 billion.

Work will be performed at Arnold AFB, TN, and the contract as a whole will be complete by Sept 30/15 (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0334).

June 13/14: An $11.9 million cost-plus-award-fee contract modification for FY 2014 AEDC support, to be completed by Sept 30/14. Work will be performed at Arnold AFB, TN (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0330).

Jan 7/14: A $23 million cost-plus-award-fee contract modification for FY 2014 AEDC support, to be completed by Sept 30/14. Work will be performed at Arnold AFB, TN (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0321).

Aug 30/13: FY 2014. A $218.6 million cost-plus-award-fee contract modification for AEDC operation, maintenance, information management and support. This pushes announced awards to date under the contract to about $2.138 billion of a possible $2.7 billion, with the end in sight as of Sept 30/15. On the other hand, announced awards likely do not cover the full spectrum of contracts, and their structure means that not all of the announced funds were spent.

Work will be performed at Arnold AFB, TN, and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/14 (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0307).

Feb 8/13: FY 2013. The Aerospace Testing Alliance in Tullahoma, TN receives a $7.8 million contract modification for their work at AEDC, Arnold AFB, TN. Looks like another ceiling-raiser due to increased workload. Work is expected to be completed by Sept 30/13 (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0290).

This raises announced FY 2013 totals to just $50.9 million so far, and no other awards were publicly announced.

Dec 10/12: FY 2013. The Aerospace Testing Alliance in Tullahoma, TN receives a a $43.1 million cost-plus-award-fee contract modification. Work is expected to be complete by Sept 30/13 (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0287).

Sept 8/11: FY 2012? The Aerospace Testing Alliance in Tullahoma, TN receives a $208.5 million cost-plus-award-fee contract modification for the operation, maintenance, information management, and support of Arnold Engineering Development Center.

It is not clear whether this is an FY 2011 or an FY 2012 award, but past patterns suggest that this is the FY 2012 base amount. The AEDC/PK at Arnold AFB, TX manages this contract (F40600-03-C-0001).

Feb 16/11: FY 2011. The Aerospace Testing Alliance in Tullahoma, TN receives a $64.6 million contract modification for the FY 2011 AEDC contract. At this time, no funds have been obligated; they will be committed as needed (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0228).

Sept 3/10: FY 2011. A $204.2 million contract modification to provide operation, maintenance, information management, and support of Arnold Engineering Development Center for FY 2011. At this time, the entire amount has been committed. (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0207).

Jan 25/10: 2010. A modified contract for $86.7 million for the operation, maintenance, information management and support of the Arnold Engineering Development Center to cover additional workload in FY 2010. (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0192).

Aug 25/09: 2010. A modified contract for $199.3 million for the operation, maintenance, information management, and support of the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) for FY 2010 (F40600-03-C-0001).

Sept 23/08: FY 2008. A modified contract for $8.3 million for the operation, maintenance, information management, and support of the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) for additional workload in FY 2008. This increase results from changes to the workload in the test facilities and increased maintenance, investment, and mission support requirements (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 00149).

March 14/08: FY 2008. A modified contract for $69.7 million for the operation, maintenance, information management, and support of the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) for FY 2008. This increase results from changes to the workload in the facilities and increased maintenance, investment, and mission support requirements. No funds have been committed yet, but delivery orders can be issued as needed up to the required maximum (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0136).

AEDC F-22 Fluid Dynamics

F-22 Fluid Dynamics

Sept 25/07: FY 2008. A contract modification for $209.1 million. This action is a modification to the contract for the Operation, Maintenance, Information Management, and Support of Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) for FY 2008. This increase results from changes to the workload in the test facilities and increased maintenance, investment, and mission support requirements (F40600-03-C-0001, Modification P00122).

Sept 25/07: FY 2007. A contract modification for $6.5 million for the operation, maintenance, information management, and support of Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) for FY 2007. This increase results from changes to the workload in the facilities and increased maintenance, investment, and mission support requirements (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0123).

Dec 21/06: FY 2007. A $63.6 million cost-plus-award fee contract modification. This action provides for the FY 2007 operation, maintenance, information management, and support of the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC). This increase results from changes to the workload in the test facilities and increased maintenance, investment, and mission support requirements. Work will be complete by September 2007 (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0104).

August 14/06: FY 2006. A $212.1 million cost-plus-award fee contract modification for the operation, maintenance, information management, and support of Arnold Engineering Development Center for FY 2006. This increase results from changes to the workload in the test facilities and increased maintenance, investment, and mission support requirements. Work will be completed by September 2007 (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0090)

June 8/06: FY 2006. An $8.2 million cost-plus award fee contract modification for FY 2006 efforts at AEDC. This increase results from changes to the workload in the test facilities and increased maintenance, investment, and mission support requirements. At this time, no funds have been obligated. Work will be complete September 2006 (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0086).

Oct 6/05: FY 2006. A $42.7 million cost plus award fee contract modification for the operation, maintenance, information management, and support of Arnold Engineering Development Center for FY 2006. This increase results from a higher test workload in the facilities and increased maintenance, investment, and mission support requirements. Work will be complete by September 2006 (F40600-03-C-0001/ P00066)

May 31/05: FY 2006. A $213.4 million cost-plus award-fee option was picked up for the operation, maintenance, information management, and support of Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) for FY 2006. Work on this option will be complete by September 2006 (F40600-03-C-0001).

Dec 27/04: FY 2005. A $38.1 million cost plus award fee contract modification for the Operation, Maintenance, Information Management, and Support of Arnold Engineering Development Center for FY 2004 through FY 2005, because of a higher test workload in the test facilities. It also makes other minor changes to the facility, maintenance, and mission support workloads. Work will be complete by September 2005 (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0035).

Sept 3/04: FY 2004. An $18.5 million cost-plus award-fee contract modification for the Operation, Maintenance, Information Management, and Support of Arnold Engineering Development Center for FY 2004. This increase results from a higher test workload in the test facilities and makes other minor changes to the facility, maintenance, and mission support workloads. Work will be complete by September 2004 (F40600-03-C-0001, PO 0021).

Aug 10/04: FY 2005. A $215 million cost-plus award-fee contract modification exercises an option for the Operation, Maintenance, Information Management, and Support of Arnold Engineering Development Center for FY 2005. Work will be complete by September 2005 (F40600-03-C-0001).

June 30/03: Base contract. Aerospace Testing Alliance, Tullahoma, TN receives a maximum $2.69 billion cost-plus-award-fee contract for the operation, maintenance, information management and support of the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC).

Work under this contract includes the test, analysis and evaluation of aerospace programs; research and development leading to future test facility capability; and the operation, information management, maintenance and repair of the facilities and related utilities.

Solicitation began January 2003, negotiations were completed May 2003, and work will be complete September 2015 (F40600-03-C-0001).

AEDC contract
2003 – 2015

Additional Readings

* Globalsecurity.org – Arnold AFB, Tennessee

* Wikipedia – Arnold Engineering Development Center

* NASA Dryden – X-29. Just 1 example of the kind of work done here, albeit a very interesting one.

* USAF (July 23/09) – Commander’s childhood dream comes true at Arnold

* USAF (July 23/09) – AEDC reaches major milestone with hypersonic engine testing

* USAF (July 23/09) – Minuteman III replacement program wraps up

* USAF (June 18/08) – Wind tunnel tests contribute to first flight of F-35

* USAF (2008) – AEDC 2008 Annual Report [PDF]

* USAF (2008) – AEDC 2008 Test Facility Guide [PDF]

* USAF (Aug 1/03) – AEDC Contract Award to Aerospace Testing Alliance [PDF]

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