reply to post by gariac
The Northrop Grumman Tejon Test Complex was forced to close in 2011 due to nearby construction of solar power arrays and wind turbine towers that
interfered with radar and antenna testing at the site.
Northrop Grumman appealed a September 15, 2010, approval by the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission of a 230-megawatt facility known as AV
Solar Ranch One, which was proposed to be built on 790 acres at 170th Street West and Avenue D, approximately five miles from the Tejon Test Complex,
on the basis that it would disrupt radar measurements.The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors denied the appeal two months later. At the very
least, Northrop wanted to delay construction of the plant to see if it could work with First Solar, Inc., to find a way to build AV Solar Ranch One
that wouldn't harm the test facility. According to news reports from 2010, Northrop reached such an agreement with a wind farm in the area.
Personally, I would have thought that the forest of extremely tall wind turbines that has been built just two miles east of the test site would cause
greater interference than the solar farm.
Another proposal, from Sempra Generation, for a 960-acre solar farm to be built between 150th and 135th streets west and Holiday and Kingbird avenues
also worried Northrop Grumman officials. A similar challenge filed with the Kern County Board of Supervisors was denied after the Department of
Defense verified the Sempra project would have no impact on the military mission in that area.
In its appeals Northrop Grumman contended that the solar plants could interfere with testing by reflecting or emitting radio waves, increasing the
background electromagnetic "clutter" and making its tests less accurate. Leonard Figueroa, Northrop Grumman director of engineering, claimed that
several secret programs aimed at creating "the next generation of stealth aircraft" could be adversely affected by interference with work at Tejon.
He said the projects at risk were secret and could not be publicly discussed.
The Tejon Test Complex was built in the early 1980s when Northrop Corporation (before its merger with Grumman) was developing stealth technology for
use in the proposed Advanced Technology Bomber, which ultimately became the B-2. The site location, a 1,400-acre parcel within the boundaries of the
privately owned Tejon Ranch on the southeaster slopes of the Tehachapi Mountains, was chosen for its relative remoteness and sparse population. The
land was initially leased from the ranch but later purchased outright by the company.
The test complex is comprised of two radar cross-section (RCS) measurement ranges, two antenna ranges (nicknamed the "Ant Hill" according to
Northrop documents and personnel), and one indoor RCS range. The outdoor RCS ranges were capable of handling models or full-scale aircraft up to 8,000
pounds on 14-foot or 26-foot support pylons at several fixed locations up to 3,000 feet from the transmitter array.A 50-foot pylon was available for
targets weighing up to 10,000 pounds. RCS test frequencies ranged from 145 MHz to 18 GHz in vertcal and horizontal polarizations, with imaging
capability available at all bands. The Antenna ranges were used for testing electromagnetic interference and for developing state-of-the-art antenna
and radome configurations at frequencies from 100 MHz to 40 GHz. One of the two antenna ranges had unobstructed 360-degree capability and could handle
weights up to 75,000 pounds. The RCS Compact Range, completed in 2000, is a 20 by 20 by 40 foot chamber capable of accommodating targets up to 500
pounds and providing measurements at frequencies ranging from 2 GHz to 18 GHz.
The facility included a machine shop and fabrication area for target assembly and modification, six segregated secure model storage/work areas
totaling approximately 30,000 square feet, a 1,200-square-foot paint booth, radar controland data acquisition buildings, security office, pump house,
emergency generator, two 10,000-gallon tanks for potable water, a 300,000-gallon water tank for fire suppression, propane and diesel storage,
hazardous materials storage, and other equipment. According to a company brochure the test site also offered materials and test analysis, a low-speed
wind tunnel, analytical chemistry, fatigue and static mechanical testing, environmental exposure testing, heat treatment, composite testing, and
Loss of the site's capabilities must have been a severe blow to Northrop Grumman after making such a large investment over the years. I have not
heard of any plans for a replacement facility.