by Justin Oakes
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
12/18/2015 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Looming high above the Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center
Recently, the Air Force erected a new 120-foot radio tower for the
center, which will double communication range, correct current
line-of-sight issues and support an antenna capable of reaching Joint
Base Cape Cod.
"With the expanded capability, the new tower will open doors for more
partnerships with federal and state agencies, industry, academia, as
well as other military organizations," said. Maj. Jonathan Stueckle, who
oversees the HCIC.
The HCIC serves as a testing and development arena for leading-edge
advances in defense applications, cyber defenses and public safety,
whose current customer base consists of various C3I and Networks and
Battle Management programs as well as Massachusetts Army National Guard
The construction of the tower was a five-month process costing approximately $3.1 million.
A portion of that money was given to the Air Force from the state as
part of a military collaboration investment. Using bonding authority
provided by a military bond bill passed by the state legislature and
signed into law by then-Gov. Deval Patrick last year, Massachusetts
provided $2.9 million for essential installation upgrades.
However, the second part of the $3 million contract must be completed before the tower is operational.
"The structure is complete, but we still need to finish the
corresponding power upgrade, as well as a few other things such as
lightning protection," Stueckle said.
The Air Force anticipates the power upgrade to be finished in March;
meanwhile, antennas and communication equipment will slowly be
transferred from the roof of the center to the structure.
In addition to expanding the center's radio range, the tower will also
save the Air Force money over time because of its material and design.
Produced by the Air Force Research Laboratory, the tower is comprised of composite material, using snap-fit technology.
"It's one of a kind," Stueckle said. "Our initial estimates point to an
83 percent savings in assembly time, 75 percent on operations and close
to 100 percent improvement on defects."
The utilization of composite material is projected to eliminate the majority of long-term maintenance costs on the structure.
Once things are up and running, the Air Force intends to have a
ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility, but a date has yet to be