Defense

December 19, 2012

New F-16 software platform to be tested by 40th, 85th

Tags:
Samuel King, Jr.
Eglin AFB, Fla.


Developmental testing for an F-16 operational flight program will be accomplished at the 40th Flight Test Squadron and 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for the first time.

The testing for Block 40 and 50 model F-16s is scheduled to begin in 2014 and will also be the first time developmental testing and operational testing of the OFP will be conducted at the same base.

“This not only gives DT and OT pilots the unique opportunity for daily face-to-face contact to discuss potential test issues, but also allows OT pilots to participate in DT missions alongside their counterparts,” said Beau Booth, the F-16 M7 OFP project specialist for the 40th Flight Test Squadron.

An OFP is the software in the F-16 that controls the avionics and allows the jet to interface with external weapons. It is currently in the design-try-out phase here. This phase is primarily to help the software developers.

“In the DTO phase, a few early versions of the software, with limited subsets of the planned new capabilities, are flight-tested to ensure basic functionality so the software engineers can easily make any fundamental changes before they get too far into the coding,” said Booth.

This takes on a greater importance with this new OFP because it’s the first time an Air Force unit has developed the software. Previous F-16 OFP updates were created by Lockheed-Martin, but the 309th Software Maintenance Group from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the developer for this iteration.

Previous DTO phases had a limited number of sorties due to resources and test objectives.

“While this approach is adequate, it results in a relatively small number of opportunities to find potential errors,” said Booth. “Since there are multiple ways to execute most tasks in the F-16, there are a lot of potential combinations of pilot actions. DT does not have the resources to test.”

This was not the case with this DTO phase, however, since both OT and DT pilots were available to participate. To date, the combined test team has flown 41 test sorties. The previous F-16 OFP DTO included only 13 test sorties

“The ability to conduct a fully integrated DT/OT test program allows us to test new OFPs more thoroughly and field them faster and cheaper than ever before,” said Booth.

Historically, even though an OFP passes DT, OT pilots would find new software errors due to the amount of flight time and pilot availability. The added use of OT resources increases the potential of finding anomalies in the software. It also gives OT pilots, who are ultimately responsible for the final fielding recommendation, a chance to evaluate the software development early. OT’s upfront involvement cuts down on any late software changes. It also avoids the associated extra test requirements, increased costs and fielding delays that could happen.

Although this F-16 OFP partnership is a new endeavor for the squadrons, the 40th and 85th are frequent collaborators in developmental and operational testing. They are even headquartered in the same building for additional functionality.

“In these fiscally constrained times, the 40th and 85th are setting the benchmark on how to perform integrated test,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Seymour, the 85th TES commander. “Being collocated is the key. This allows us to share aircraft, infrastructure, aircrew and ideas, which results in more effective and efficient test and a better end product for the warfighter.”

This new software package will be incorporated in all active-duty F-16s and many Reserve aircraft.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by TSgt. Matt Hecht

Laser-based aircraft countermeasure provides ‘unlimited rounds’ against MANPADS

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Matt Hecht A U.S. Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopter prepares to depart Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, on Jan 7, 2012. The Apache conducts distributed operations, precision strikes against relocat...
 
 

Navy, Air Force advocate for modernizing combat aviation

Top Navy and Air Force officials today told the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces the president’s budget request for fiscal year 2016 will support modernizing combat aviation programs. Cavy Vice Adm. Paul A. Grosklags, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisitions; Air...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Victor J. Caputo

McConnell community marks B-29 rollout

Air Force photograph by SrA. Victor J. Caputo A B-29 Superfortress aircraft, named Doc after its nose art, sit on the flightline March 23, 2015, in Wichita, Kan. Doc will be one of two Superfortresses in the world capable of fl...
 

 

Future USS John Finn launched

The future USS John Finn (DDG 113) was launched at the Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard March 28. During launch the drydock was flooded allowing the 637-foot floating dock to slowly submerge until the ship was afloat. Once the drydock was fully submerged, the ship was pulled by tugs to HII’s south berth...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

First production QF-16 arrives at Tyndall

Courtesy photograph Maintainers begin post-flight checks on the first Lot 1 production model QF-16 after it arrived at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., March 11. The aircraft is the first of 13 deliveries to the 82nd Aerial Target...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Dustin Mullen

E-9A Widget, one of a kind

Air Force photograph by A1C Dustin Mullen An E-9A Widget sits on the flight line in front of hangar 5 Mar. 3 at the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron. The Widget is a modified version of the Bombardier Dash-8, formerly Canadian De Ha...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>