Sites like the Lockheed Helendale RCS or the Tonopah test range are only known to have an underground pit to support raising or lowering of test articles. But is it technically possible to have a fully underground test range?

For example the Helendale RCS Range has a "runway" like structure sitting in between the test chamber and the antenna array. For an underground facility I propose the runway like path would be enclosed in a horizontal TBM-bored or cut/cover tunnel rather than digging up an entire area. Also noting the pit one and two in the center of the "runway" if the runway has to be fit into an underground tunnel. What are some of the design considerations of the tunnel that would minimize EM interference as opposed to having the entire structure aboveground?

Then there is also the question of how to get a test article, potentially the size of an aircraft to the underground location. But that's a question for later

The Nevada test side has alot of potential to reuse the subterranean structures as test ranges.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ why did you use black labels on a dark image? $\endgroup$
    – jsotola
    Jun 9, 2022 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ It's an image I got off the net. But I agree it's hard to read $\endgroup$
    – Nederealm
    Jun 9, 2022 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


It would probably be designed in the same manner as an EMC test chamber, except WAY bigger.

emc test chamber

That being said, even with very sophisticated radar absorbing walls I'm not sure you could reduce the reflections enough to not drown out something like a stealth aircraft.

  • $\begingroup$ What's the difference between EMC chamber Vs RCS range testing? $\endgroup$
    – Nederealm
    Jun 10, 2022 at 6:15

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