Engineers at the Lockheed Martin Mission System Integration Lab in Fort Worth, Texas, needed a communications simulator to help them design an integrated avionics system for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
They found a solution in the Communication Navigation and Identification Function Stimulator (CFS) from ViaSat Inc. in Carlsbad, Calif.
Under a $19.8 million contract, ViaSat will supply a CFS to produce a variety of simultaneous signals that simulate a communications environment for testing communication, navigation, identification, and weapon system devices.
Even after each individual subsystem is tested, the interaction of all equipment on board the aircraft can create additional problems in avionics systems as they select and process the desired signals.
Measuring total system performance is possible only in the presence of complex time-varying radio-frequency (RF) stimulation that tests not only the equipment, but also the operational procedures to respond to various tactical situations as well.
ViaSat has been developing RF Communication Environment Simulations Systems ever since it received a $22 million order in 1997 from the Air Force and Navy for a Joint Communication Simulator (JCS).
That unit had to allow test engineers to develop intricate scenarios involving hundreds of thousands of high-fidelity-friendly, neutral, and enemy signals under very controlled conditions. Those tests had previously required flight tests, which are not easily repeatable. For more information, see www.viasat.com.