Program Overview

The F-22 Raptor took on a new enemy at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, — Mother Nature.

Raptor 4004 made its home inside the McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin for a series of weather tests designed to forecast how the F-22 will stand up to the elements.

The Raptor was tested at extreme temperatures and in different kinds of precipitation while inside the climatic hangar. The test temperatures in this lab ranged between minus 65 degrees and plus 120 degrees Fahrenheit, including rain and snowstorms while temperatures outside the hangar ranged from 70 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

A team of nearly 50 people including engineers, maintainers and instrumentation experts from Edwards AFB worked at Eglin during the climatic testing. More than 80 Air Force and contractor personnel from lead government contractor Lockheed Martin supported the unique testing.

Challenges

The EMC FTRSEG group in Irvine, CA was tasked to develop a system which could receive real-time pulse code modulation (PCM) from the Raptor’s climatic instrumentation system, process it and display it. The system needed to allow the test engineers to:

  • manage parameter information and configuration changes.
  • define algorithms for converting the raw PCM data to data which engineers would understand.
  • time correlate parameter data with millisecond accuracy.
  • view up to 12 displays simultaneously while conducting a test.
  • provide methods to print and store classified data.
  • define custom displays to present the mission critical and test safety data.
  • post process data for future analysis and reports.
  • have access to onsite support during critical tests.

EMC Solution

EMC FTRSEG created custom software to meet these challenges. The Instrumentation, Loading, Integration, Analysis and Display (ILIAD) software was customized to meet these special needs. This software, developed for the Microsoft Windows platform was installed on workstations and servers in the F-22 Climatic Control room where engineers would monitor the test via custom displays that they would create on their own.

An Acroamatics Telemetry System was used to receive the PCM data from the Raptor. The ILIAD data distribution server received raw time correlated data from the Acroamatics and distributed it as needed to 12 different ILIAD Client Workstations. In addition, the ILIAD server could process and plot data for up to eight (8) Astromed strip-chart printers using digital-to-analog conversion methods.

All the streaming real-time data that was received during each test was digitized and recorded to the data storage system. Parameters of interest were automatically time correlated with millisecond accuracy and exported to Microsoft Excel files for further analysis. This allowed engineers to quickly review and investigate Raptor anomalies and provide educated out briefings to all those that participated immediately after each test.