Aircraft Mission Systems

The term ‘Mission Systems’ encompasses everything, other than avionics, which directly affects the outcome of a military sortie.

Anything from the physical reality of the mission computer and aircraft sensors, through the software uploaded onto it in the form of mission data, to the processes needed around the aircraft such as mission planning.

We have been supporting the procurement and operation of the UK’s fleet of Typhoon fighter jets for over 25 years and the high-tech F-35 stealth, multi-role jets for over 10 years. We manage this through the supply of advice, tools and training.

We provide expert advice in:

  • Sensor Fusion for airborne weapon systems including combat ID and rules of engagement
  • System integration and interoperability through secure data links and voice comms
  • Flight Operations through flight scheduling, mission planning and debrief
  • System performance prediction, assessment, trials planning and trials data analysis
  • System performance enhancement and tuning performance through mission data and software change
  • Mission Data: operational mission data settings, mission data tools, and business processes for building, testing, deploying and reprogramming mission data

We work on improving performance at all stages of the aircraft mission cycle, starting from at the base to in flight to post mission and maintenance and redevelopment.

 

Aircraft mission systems

At Base

Flight scheduling – Flights and missions are planned daily, 24 to 48 hours in advance. This short time frame means mistakes can drastically hinder performance.

Certain finite resources such as aircraft, runways and staff must be distributed to perform all missions. In order to know how this will all work it is useful to model the processes. We produce a simulated model of these processes to help those in command best prepare for, and limit mistakes.

Mission planning – Mission planning systems (MPS) must be kept current with aircraft modifications to be effective. We run trials to test that this software truly meets pilot requirements. We can then make recommendations to both the user training schemes and the software developers. This keeps pilots and others up to speed and improves the utility and user friendliness of the software. Additionally, we provide pilot training for MPS.

 

In Flight

Weapons Release and Survivability – Pilots need to see, and be able to rely on, a single, clear image of the world around them when it matters most.

Software we create, by fusing different sensor measurements, helps guide the pilots. Sensor fusion provides trustworthy identification of friendly and hostile aircraft, ships and ground units well before the pilots can physically see them.

 

Post Mission

Download – All the information from the mission is analysed upon landing in order to be able to debrief both the pilot and engineers as well as to provide information as to how to improve the aircraft.

To do this, the data is all stored on a portable ‘brick’ (rugged hard drive) on the aircraft which can be retrieved and downloaded at the base.

Mission debrief – Once all the information has been downloaded, the pilots need to look through the data with their commanding officer to identify any mistakes or issues which occurred throughout the flight. Finally, the commanding officer discerns whether the mission was completed successfully and recommends a future course of action.

 

Maintenance/Redevelopment

The downloaded and debriefed information, from the post mission phase, is subsequently fed back to the maintenance/redevelopment stage where the information from real operations can be used alongside that from trials and training to improve aircraft systems for the future. We advise on this process and provide external training in the processes involved in analysing data.

Mission Data – Just like a computer, aircraft need regular software updates to be effective. Every mission, the on-board software must be tailored for the challenges of that particular mission; this is called reprogramming. We support these activities by looking at data from both simulated trials and real world missions.

Training – All of the processes outlined above require trained personnel. We offer training for many parts of the mission cycle including mission planning, sensor fusion software development (survive) and reprogramming (mission data).

 

Tools and Training

We have a set of software applications to help plan missions, create mission data and evaluate trials data.

Our tools include:

  • Our in house simulation, modelling and assessment capability for air operations and sensor fusion
  • Our mission data almanac and reference manual
  • Our business process modelling capability for fast jet support
  • Our Rules of Engagement (RoE) and Combat ID simulator

Our formal training courses cover:

  • Mission data production we provide training on the production and management of configuration data and military Mission Dependent Data (MDD). We have provided training on reprogramming, end-to-end business processes, and best practice and system engineering principles such as requirements, design, testing and quality assurance. The course can be tailored to specific configuration data/mission data applications as needed.
  • Sensor fusion training  we have the facilities and tools to deliver the training that equips your pilots and engineers to improve their performance by tailoring their mission system for maximum efficiency.