After an exhaustive review of data analysis software environments and programming languages, the three test centers of the Air Force and Navy standardized on MATLAB for its broad capabilities and widespread adoption in defense organizations and academia.
The test centers have signed a Test Center to Test Center Memorandum of Agreement for developing aero-propulsion post-test data analysis tools based on MathWorks products.
“MathWorks products helped lay the ground work for this memorandum of agreement,” explains Jeff Corn, Chief of Engineering Projects Section for the U.S. Air Force. “Now, we meet regularly with propulsion groups from the different test centers to assign projects before developing and reusing our analysis work with MATLAB. This approach helps us greatly reduce development time. We’re looking to extend this approach for other types of tests.”
The test centers are using MATLAB and related toolboxes to develop post-flight data analysis tools that are reused across multiple projects, including the F-15, F-16, and JSF F-35.
A propulsion test effort with the F-16 aircraft and the F-110-GE-100 engine involved evaluating engine thrust response. For this effort, the AFFTC team used MATLAB to develop event-detection logic to determine both normal and abnormal engine responses in test data. MATLAB enabled the engineers to accelerate analysis and improve the consistency of results. The AEDC and NAVAIR are modifying and reusing the AFFTC’s analysis work for their own engine thrust analysis testing.
During recent F/A-22 F-119-PW-100 development testing, AFFTC engineers also used MATLAB to calculate inlet recovery and spatial and planar distortion. These tests determine inlet performance and engine-inlet compatibility. The engineers used MATLAB to read data in from hierarchical data format files. They used Signal Processing Toolbox™ to remove noise and extract frequencies from time-series data.
They used MATLAB to store the results in a database for review by flight engineers across test centers. MATLAB also enabled them to create contour plots and videos for visualizing the effects of inlet recovery and turbulence. Using the recovery and turbulence measurements, they assessed air vehicle specification compliance and provided input for flight manuals.
“MathWorks products provide the versatility and strength required to develop complex applications without limiting our engineers to one field of research,” notes Cricchi.