Navy moves DOD program forward to improve testing of MIL-STD-1553 avionics databuses
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE–DIX–LAKEHURST, N.J., 19 Sept. 2014. Military avionics experts at Coherent Technical Services Inc. in Lexington Park, Md., are continuing their work to make data flowing over the MIL-STD-1553 databus available to other systems for testing and data verification.
Officials of the Officials of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division at Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst, N.J., on Wednesday awarded an $8.1 million delivery order to Coherent Technical Services for a phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) effort called Multiplex Data Bus Controller/Translator (MDBCT) program -- affectionately known as "Mudbucket."
This initiative, also known as Multiplex Data Bus Controllers, Translator, and Transmitter (MDBCTT), provides open access to aircraft 1553 multiplex bus data via open-architecture standards such as High Level Architecture (HLA) and the Test and Training Enabling Architecture (TENA), among others.
During flight operations, integrated aircraft avionics subsystems such as flight-control surfaces, communications, and fuel control must be able to communicate with each other over multiplex databuses like 1553, experts say.
Testing these multiplex databuses today, however, requires extensive flight testing that not only can be costly, but also dangerous. Military aviation experts need the ability to manipulate aircraft data transparently as it moves throughout the platform to verify and validate these systems.
Before the work of Coherent Technical Services began in 2006, the technology did not exist to inject 1553 data onto the bus for system-of-systems testing and mission rehearsal as an open-architecture product.
In the course of the MDBCTT program, Coherent Technical Services has developed the so-called Mudbucket technology and validated its use in controlling and manipulating aircraft conditions over serial MIL-STD-1553 databuses.
Coherent Technical Services began this effort technical direction of the U.S. Army Aviation Flight Test Directorate (AFTD) at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. This technology enables combined systems of systems testing in a controlled environment and under various conditions with other Army and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) facilities.
In addition, Coherent Technical Services also is developing a complementary Mudbucket ARINC 429 data bus technology for commercial passenger and military cargo aircraft.
An important part of Coherent's work on this program has been the ad-hoc replication of the 1553 network, and automatic pre-processing of aircraft interface control documents.
The second phase of Coherent's MDBCTT work developed and demonstrated a prototype with the Mudbucket capability on an Army AH-64D attack helicopter during a navigation systems test using aircraft systems stimulation and emulation.
Company engineers did not modify bus traffic during the test; data passed through MDBCTT seamlessly while still exposed via HLA, TENA, and related interfaces, experts say.
Coherent experts demonstrated MDBCTT capability for test and in-cockpit mission rehearsal as if the aircraft were in flight. This has the potential to reduce the number of flight hours necessary for testing and provide cost savings for military aviation.
In addition, experts say, MDBCTT technology also could be applicable to using 1553 and similar protocols on military systems ranging from undersea vehicles to manned and unmanned space vehicles.
On the contract awarded this week, Coherent Technical Services will do the work in Lexington Park, Md., and should be finished by March 2016. For more information contact Coherent Technical Services online at www.goctsi.com, or the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division-Lakehurst at www.navair.navy.mil.