By John McHale
ORLANDO, Fla.. 7 Dec. 2009. – Engineers at Boeing Training Systems and Support in St. Louis tested an IP (Internet Protocol) based data link to transmit simulation information to and from a F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft in the company's third integrated Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) proof-of-concept demonstration during a flight test at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
The LVC is part of Boeing's Project Alpine independent research and development project to reduce training costs, says Mark McGraw, vice president, Boeing Training Systems and Support. McGraw made his comments during a press conference at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando, Fla.
"The Air Force asked us to try other solutions than Link 16," McGraw says. Link 16 is designed for tactical use and not always suited for every application, whereas IP-based data links are compatible with nearly every system and are more cost effective, McGraw adds.
Air Force leaders are looking for more affordable avionics architectures that can embrace more powerful commercial processors and other embedded technology, says Bruce Fasterling, director of business development for Boeing Training Systems and Services. Fasterling also spoke during the press conference. Some of the older aircraft have flight systems that are not compatible with the most advanced commercial technologies, he adds. The Air Force wants that flexibility, Fasterling says.
The encrypted IP data link performed better than expected, McGraw says. "IP is a proven robust solution that leverages commercial technology," he adds. Boeing plans to use it on platforms other than the F-15E, McGraw says.
The data links and other technology are also related to work Boeing is performing on the Air Force's test range program, the Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System (CRIIS), McGraw says.
Boeing is also moving from 1553 databus technology to Ethernet as part of the LVC demonstrations and the CRIIS program, Fasterling says. Ethernet is compatible with most systems and a natural progression, he adds.
"We are still looking at the best way to put technology on an airplane," Fasterling says. That is what the demonstrations are about, he adds.
McGraw says there will be three more LVC demonstrations with the next one scheduled for later this year. The latest demonstration had an F-15E networked with simulators on the ground to combat computer generated threats, according to a Boeing release. The 2010 demonstration will use a virtual E3 Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) combined with live F-15E and F-22 aircraft that are paired as wingmen against live adversaries and simulated adversaries in air to air battles as well as defended against ground to air attacks, according to the Boeing data sheet.
Technologies demonstrated in earlier phases included: the connection of a simulation network to a live platform over a fighter data link, LVC algorithms embedded in the flight program; and on platform radar tracks and emissions simulated by a ground-based constructive environment, according to a Boeing data sheet.