COTS is the centerpiece of new Air Force F-16 test system

HILL Air Force Base, Utah - U.S. Air Force officials at the Ogden Air Logistics Center in Ogden, Utah, chose a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) diagnostic test system from Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company in Nashua, N.H., for the F-16C and D series tactical fighter aircraft based at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

Th Mae72217 13

COTS is the centerpiece of new Air Force F-16 test system

By John McHale

HILL Air Force Base, Utah - U.S. Air Force officials at the Ogden Air Logistics Center in Ogden, Utah, chose a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) diagnostic test system from Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company in Nashua, N.H., for the F-16C and D series tactical fighter aircraft based at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

The Enhanced Diagnostics Aid (EDNA) system is a portable maintenance system that enables flightline maintenance personnel to load and verify operational flight software into aircraft avionics computer systems; download the crash survival flight data recorder; and perform system enhanced fault diagnostics by downloading and analyzing failure data contained within each system.

The system executes diagnostic tests using a ruggedized laptop computer and advanced memory loading and verification software. The Ogden Air Logistics Center is at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah.

Sanders engineers used an industrial grade of COTS, with the RLT serial F-Fox rugged portable computer from Paravant Computer Systems in Melbourne, Fla., says Pat Jacob, the Sanders EDNA program manager in Fort Worth, Texas. "It`s the only real rugged computer I can think of," he says.

The Sanders experts had to come up with an interface that works with standard and non-standard serial and parallel protocols. "We have not found a system we can`t program," Jacob claims.

EDNA replaces several pieces of old test equipment and dramatically reduces flightline test time on the F-16 aircraft. Previously, it took the equipment 21 minutes to load the F-16 enhanced central interface unit. Today, EDNA loads in 60 seconds, Sanders officials claim.

"EDNA is one of the most sought-after pieces of aircraft support hardware to be fielded in the USAF aircraft maintenance community," says Maj. David Snyder, Air Force program manager for EDNA at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. "The field users have been extremely pleased with its performance, as well as its prompt availability. It is a system that we highly value."

Running the EDNA program originally were engineers at Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems in Fort Worth, Texas, till the program switched to Sanders in 1996.

Sanders received a $14 million contract from the Air Force in 1996 to provide 140 systems to support F-16C and D series tactical fighter aircraft. In February of 1998 the Air Force ordered an additional four systems. The last system was delivered March 27.

There are more than 200 EDNA systems operating in 12 countries. The Air Force anticipates future orders of 170 additional EDNA systems and potential foreign military sales of more than 50 units.

Th Mae72217 13
Click here to enlarge image

EDNA --The Enhanced Diagnostic Aid from Sanders is a portable maintenance system that enables F-16C personnel to load operational software into aircraft avionics processors.

More in Home