ARL at UH is uniquely positioned to conduct air, ocean surface, ground and underwater testing in Hawaiʻi due to proximity and access to DoD and non-DoD test sites, engagement of local warfighting units, and Hawaiʻi’s mild climate and environmental diversity. In 2020 ARL at UH established Technology Incubation, Demonstration and Experimentation Support (TIDES), a test and evaluation (T&E) platform where innovative technologies can be incubated in Hawaiʻi and tested and assessed in operationally relevant environments.


TIDES was designed to provide a realistic, uncontrolled setting for technology development and enhancement from incubation to operations, where program sponsors, technologists and users work together to accelerate critically necessary steps in evolving warfighter support. The inaugural TIDES event, held on March 5, 2020 showcased one non-DoD and one DoD example of Hawaiʻi’s available test areas: Coconut Island (Moku o Loʻe) and Bellows Air Force Station (BAFS).


Coconut Island, located in Kāneʻohe Bay, Oʻahu, is operated by the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology at UH and hosts a world-class laboratory and supporting infrastructure. Surrounded by a shallow-water, littoral reef environment, Coconut Island is an ideal T&E site for aerial, surface, and underwater vehicles with controlled public access.


BAFS is located in Waimānalo, Oʻahu, where it serves a morale, welfare and recreation mission for military families. ARL at UH regularly conducts T&E operations involving unmanned systems and other emerging technologies in support of DoD at BAFS, which has multiple terrains for testing including a former active airfield, an unpopulated coastline, open fields, deep forest canopy, an abandoned cantonment, freshwater streams and variable ocean conditions.