Fighter pilots 'test drive' JSFhttp://defence-data.com/storypic/lmjsf1a.jpg [not image]
8 March 2000
Nine military pilots have put in more than 40 hours in the new Lockheed Martin Virtual Battlefield Management Center, testing the survivability and lethality of the Lockheed Martin team's Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft.
The test series simulated all JSF sensor systems. In addition to data from on-board sensors, the simulation integrated information from off-board sources to give pilots maximum awareness of the combat situation, just as they will have with the JSF.
Demonstration pilots gave high ratings to the Lockheed Martin JSF virtual battlefield facility and systems. They adapted quickly to the new cockpit and systems and were soon implementing multi-aircraft tactics to capitalize on the new capabilities. One pilot commented that the simulations were the first he has seen that provide a truly realistic scenario for combat targeting.
The 7,000-square-foot virtual battlefield center includes two fully equipped JSF cockpit stations with all-aspect, high-resolution visual systems, plus four manned control stations for adversaries or additional friendly aircraft. The high-fidelity tactical experience is designed to replicate the combat environment of 2010 with an intricate network of surface-launched and airborne threats. A theater-style observation room provides real-time viewing by observers and can also be used for pre- and post-mission briefings.
Lockheed Martin claim that full-mission simulation to this degree of complexity and realism is unprecedented so early in the life of a weapons system.
"The things we are doing today in this lab show how far modelling and simulation has come as an engineering design tool. This technology provides a highly realistic preview of the threats military pilots will face in 10 years," said James D. Engelland, vice president of Weapons System Integration for the Lockheed Martin JSF team. "That, coupled with the design maturity of our team's JSF aircraft, makes exercises like this extremely useful and meaningful."
"The success of these exercises gives us great confidence in our proposal for the next program phase and should substantially reduce risk in the areas of lethality, survivability and total program affordability," said Frank J. Cappuccio, vice president and JSF program manager.
Lockheed Martin and Boeing each received JSF Concept Demonstration contracts awarded by the US Department of Defense in November 1996. The Lockheed Martin JSF team includes Northrop Grumman and BAE SYSTEMS. Flight evaluation of the demonstrator aircraft is scheduled to take place in 2000, with government selection of a single contractor for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase set for 2001.