How the Air Force is using its tech to get planes to the runway
On Monday, the Air Department will launch the first batch of prototype “mechanics tool kits” for military aircraft, to be used to diagnose problems that arise during a flight.
The kits will be developed and tested at Air Force Research Laboratory, where they will be used in conjunction with a new aircraft diagnostics platform called a “measurement tool,” which will provide a way to quickly and easily find issues that could be causing problems on a flight, the Army said.
The Air Force said the kit, called a pilot-computer interface kit, will be the first of its kind in the Air National Guard.
The Army said the prototype kits will have a “minimum of four” pilot-in-command and a flight crew of three.
The pilot-computers will work together with a flight controller to identify and diagnose problems during the aircraft’s landing, the service said.
More than 1,000 of the kits will ship by the end of next month, and another 500 will be delivered to the U.S. Air Force Training Command, which is preparing for the arrival of the F-35B fighter jet in 2019.
The kit will be made by a company called R.D. Rummel Inc. and will be a “very high-end product,” according to the Air Guard.
R.T. Rumbaugh, vice president for technology and systems development, said the company was hoping to use the kit to help soldiers quickly diagnose problems in their airplanes that could result in engine failures or even fatal injuries.
“This is not the type of product that we would be using on a typical flight, but it’s a tool that we can use in conjunction to help,” Rumbugh said.
Rummel, based in Springfield, Ill., is one of the companies that is building a sensor network that could help the Army and the Marine Corps detect issues with their aircraft.
A software-defined radio (SDR) technology called Airborne Infrared Sensor Network, or ANIS, is being developed by the Rummels.
In addition to being used by the Airborne, the company is also working with the Marine and the Army, which have requested the use of the technology, Rumbaug said.
“We are hopeful that the system can be used for the F35B and other aircraft,” Rumlow said.
Another potential use of a sensor system that is being used in the F135 is the ANS-A suite of sensors for airborne sensors.
The ANS software-based system can use sensors from multiple sensors on a plane and use them to track an object, such as an aircraft, with high precision, such that an aircraft’s engine can be identified.
The F135 will have the first generation of ANS sensors that will be deployed to the F130 and F135 aircraft.
The systems will also be integrated with the radar, thermal imaging, video and navigation systems.
The sensors will also provide data that will help pilots determine how to land their aircraft safely, according to Rumbough.
“You’ll get a better understanding of what’s happening with the aircraft, how it’s performing,” Rummell said.
In September, the F136-X, the first Air Force aircraft to be fitted with the F36’s avionics, received an ANS sensor package from Rummelt.
That package will be available in 2019 for the first time, Rummle said.