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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.

 


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