An automated full functionality test of the Weapon Control and Management System, accommodating both new and existing weapon types, can now be conducted on the aircraft, at the flight line using a single test set.
The task is to confirm that one or more weapon stations, with or without their launchers, racks or other interfaces, are each a fully functional part the of the aircraft's weapon control and management system. If there is a problem, diagnostics will indicate the potential fault location.
The biggest advantage to the maintenance operator, at the flight line, is the ability to test both new and legacy weapon control sub-systems with a single test set. It covers iron bombs and complex Mil-Std 1760 munitions, decoys and GPS dependant stores deployed on fixed or rotary wing, manned or unmanned air vehicles.
The Man-Machine Interface
The maintenance environment requires that the operator access the weapons bay while retaining functional control of the test activity. The test set supports this, allowing the operator to progress defined test sequences prompted by instructions from a hand-held controller. This sequence automation method ensures that testing is accurate and reduces the potential for human error.
The test sequences are stored within the handheld controller and are written using Standard Commands for Programmable Instruments (SCPI). These test sequences can easily be re-programmed, off-line, for different weapons or aircraft, making this a flexible test platform.
The man-machine interface may also be extended, if required, to a second hand-held controller that allows another operator, usually located in the cockpit, to support the test sequence commands. Where aircraft system electronic technical manuals and maintenance data is available, this may also be loaded on to the hand-held PC to assist the operator.
The hand-held controller captures and displays the test results, which may be diagnosed and reviewed at the time of test. Test records, including date / time, aircraft identity and fail data are recorded on the controller and may be downloaded using a standard PC serial port for any subsequent analysis or audit purposes.
Test Set Hardware
The Weapon Control and Management System Test Set consists of the following elements: -
- Armament Test Unit (ATU).
- Handheld Controllers.
- Cable Assembly Housing Unit (CAHU).
- Optional - Radio Frequency Test Unit (RFTU).
- Optional - Voltage Standing Waveform Ratio (VSWR) Box.
The Armament Test Unit (ATU) is a portable, ruggedised, environmentally sealed 19" rack, which contains the majority of the test set functionality. This unit also provides the interface to the RFTU, VSWR box and handheld controllers.
The Handheld Controllers are ruggedised environmentally sealed computers, which control the system. Either one or two handheld controllers may be used, depending upon customer requirement.
The Cable Assembly Housing Units (CAHU) are lightweight, rugged, storage bags that contain the cables required to link up the elements of the test set and interface with the aircraft system.
The Voltage Standing Waveform Ratio (VSWR) Box is a portable, ruggedised and environmentally sealed test unit, that contains functionality to perform Voltage VSWR and attenuation testing. The use of this unit is optional dependent upon customer requirement.
The Radio Frequency Test Unit (RFTU) is also a portable, ruggedised, environmentally sealed 19" rack, fundamentally containing a signal generator, which provides high bandwidth spot frequency signals between 9kHz and 2GHz. The use of this unit is optional dependent upon customer requirement.
Set-up and Test
At the flight line, the Test Set is ready to operate in around 90 seconds, during which time the ATU has performed extensive Built In Test (BIT) and safety critical signals test.
Start-up testing has been designed to detect 99% of all test set hardware faults and 100% of faults relating to safety critical signals. Self-test is achieved in three parts, Built In Test (BIT) (ATU, RFTU and Handheld controllers), Internal wiring tests and external cable test, thus giving the operator confidence in the test equipment and minimising the risk of a wrong diagnosis.
On completion of self-test, the operator is ready to select the aircraft test sequence required from the menus provided on the hand-held controller. Once identified, the test set-up instructions are presented followed by the test sequence activities. On completion of the test sequence, the controller instructions lead the operator through test breakdown and "leave safe" actions.
Notably, the test set can be used for "certification" of the entire Weapon Control and Management System. In this role the weapon-carrying configuration of the aircraft under test is selected from the controller menu and this invokes a continuous test sequence that will address every station in that configuration.
The Weapon Control and Management System test set functionality is based on "single pin" measurements. The test set supports high-speed video and analogue measurement functionality that is controlled by software and re-configurable gate array based solutions. This flexible architecture lends itself to re-deployment in to a range of applications with the test set hardware contained in a mechanical package that has been proven to meet the demanding environmental requirements of Mil-Std 810.
The test set is a proven implementation of a ruggedised, environmentally sealed ATE, utilising a combination of commercial off the shelf and bespoke components. Modularity in the design enables Serco Test Systems to quickly realise the customer's aircraft / maintenance interface, minimise non-recurring engineering costs and thus reduce development risk.
Power Supply Requirements
85V – 264VAC @ 47 – 440Hz
0.5A – 2A (with RFTU)
STANAG 3350 / RS170 compliant.
Monochrome static pattern.
Bus Controller (BC) emulation.
Remote Terminal (RT) emulation.
BC – RT and RT-BC bus transfers.
RT response peak to peak Voltage measurement.
Acquisition of satellite signal strength (in AMU).
Currently, variants of the Weapon Control and Management System test set, described above, are in service with two air forces, supporting two different aircraft types.