846th Test Squadron

The 846th Test Squadron operates the Holloman High Speed Test Track (HHSTT) which simulates selected portions of the flight environment under accurately programmed and instrumented conditions. This capability fills the gap between laboratory investigations and full scale flight tests. The squadron is also DoD's "Center of Expertise" for all ejection seat testing and the lead facility for all supersonic tracks. Read "The Need For Speed". 

The 846th Test Suadron is currently upgrading its capability under the "Hypersonic Upgrade Program" and set a world record on 30 Apr 03. The program provides increased velocity capabilities as well as a four-fold improvement in the dynamic environment of sled tests. This improvement not only allows faster test velocities, but also provides a higher fidelity payload capability.

The 846th Test Squadron is developing a magnetic levitation capability which will significantly reduce vibrations. This will also allow taking larger payloads to higher speeds. The technology required for this magnetic levitation capability has potential commercial application for both land and space transportation. The 846th Test Squadron has also been designated as the test organization for Theater Missile Defense hypersonic warhead lethality validation. Read about Magnetic Levitation and the "Need for Smooth

The squadron's capabilities are unique in subsonic through hypersonic velocities. Payloads up to full-scale aircraft can be tested at realistic flight velocities. The squadron is fully staffed for test management, test design, engineering, analysis, hardware fabrication, test buildup and support.

  • Cost-Effective Full-Scale Testing in Flight Environment
  • Early Development Risk Reduction
  • Realistic Live-Fire Simulations
  • Prototype Testing
  • Test Item Recovery
  • Target Fragment Recovery
  • Precision Trajectory Analysis
  • Precision High Speed Photography
Track Characteristics
  • Length:
    • 2 rails with an 84" gauge--50,788 feet in length
    • A third rail forming a 26" gauge with one of the others--20,200 feet in length
  • Continuously welded and rigorously aligned Velocities approaching 10,000 feet per second (Mach 9)
  • Accelerations achieved up to 400 G's
  • High Reynolds and Mach numbers
  • Very high dynamic test pressures, flow, enthalpies, and heat rates
  • Comprehensive electronic and photo data acquisition by means of onboard recording of electronic photo-optical data
  • System risk reduction for specific flight requirements, combat conditions, and environmental constraints

Types of tests:

Aircraft - to include:
Ejection Seat
See example - Crew Escape Systems Testing

High G
Explosive Blast
See example - Environmental Erosion Capability

Warhead Lethality
See example - Blast Effects Testing
See example - Blast and Impact Lethality Testing
See example - Dispenser System Testing

Electronic Combat
Missile Warning Receivers
Infrared Countermeasures
See example - Electronic Countermeasures Capability

Boundary Layer Transition
Ram Jets/Scram Jets
Launch into Flight
See example - Missile Launch