VIRTUAL PROTOTYPING TEST BED
GosNIIAS has built a virtual prototyping test bed that is actually
a virtual hardware-in-the-loop simulation system. The test bed provides a
cockpit simulator with cockpit instrumentation based on commercial components
and a computer center where real avionics and weapon systems are presented by
mathematical models. Virtual environment includes the mathematical models of
hostile aircraft avionics and weapons systems, as well as enemy air defense
system models. 3D scenes of the outside world are displayed on the screens
installed around the cockpit.
The virtual prototyping test bed is used at all stages of aircraft
manufacturing from concept development to flight testing. At the concept
development stage aircraft efficiency is promptly estimated for multiple onboard
equipment configurations and sets of performance characteristics. The
reliability level of estimate using the virtual prototyping test bed is very
high because such a prototype is practically a complete analog of a real
aircraft. The use of virtual prototyping technology at early design stages
allows avoiding ineffective project implementation and severe engineering errors
too costly to correct at subsequent stages.
At design engineering stage the test bed is used for airborne
digital computer (ADC) software development and debugging. At present ADC
software development is the most complex and labor-intensive part of aircraft
manufacturing process. According to foreign sources, new aircraft deployment
delays are mainly due to ADC software unavailability.
ADC software analog is implemented in the test bed computer in the
same programming languages as in ADC. Virtual data communications protocols also
fully conform to real protocols. Simulator cockpit instrumentation and display
formats are equivalent to real aircraft cockpit instrumentation.
Virtual prototyping technology allows to begin software
development long before avionics component manufacturing – airborne digital
computer system (ADCS), radar, automatic landing system, SIGINT system,
navigation system and weapon control system, that are usually installed in
hardware-in-the-loop simulators. In the process of combat mode simulation on the
test bed software specifications, avionics components operation logic, data
communications protocols and program codes are optimized.
Software development in virtual environment is carried out in
parallel to avionics and airborne weapon development. Functional software
developed and debugged on the virtual prototyping test bed can be installed on
ADCS practically immediately after ADCS development.
At flight testing stage the virtual prototyping test bed is used
for full-scale test data analysis, ADCS software bug detection and elimination.
It can also be used for test pilot training. During tests ADCS software versions
are constantly changed, and the test bed can be promptly adapted to current
software version implemented at present in airborne computer.
The operational experience has shown that the virtual prototyping
test bed provides significant benefits in reducing new combat aircraft
development time and costs.