Original Date: 05/01/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Instrumentation and Data Reduction Tools Development
Seeking a way to collect and analyze data in a timely and comprehensive manner, Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems Division (DSD) took a consolidated approach which encompassed both the laboratory and field environments. The company established a method that addresses the data collection and processing of radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) instrumentation.
The basis for this practice incorporates a composite assessment of system requirements, system objectives, and customer verification and validation (V&V). Early identification of requirements (both system and data) aid in maturing the product and associated instrumentation and data reduction development. A clear statement of objectives, likewise, assists in prioritizing the development of instrumentation and data reduction features. Additionally, a similar focus on customer V&V needs enables the final product to perform equally well in the laboratory and field environments. The associated commonality or reduction of support equipment brings the expected cost avoidance while also establishing a robustness criteria, normally only associated with very mature laboratory instrumentation and data collection.
Data reduction is available in real time with prompt post-mission environments available to the customer. To adequately support product requirements, instrumentation is required to support a range of features that encompasses company development and integration as well as customer development and acceptance test needs. The complexity of RF and IR testing dictates very capable data processing and recording provisions. Both features contribute to real-time analysis and detailed post-mission analysis capabilities.
Incorporation of laboratory, development, and field test capabilities within a common hardware item provides scheduling ability to support the customer’s program schedule right from the outset. Provisions have included operation onboard aircraft as well as unmanned units that telemeter encrypted data. Ruggedized enclosures have permitted operation in rigorous environmental locations and conditions.
Software routines provide significant flexibility in the selection and use of operational modes and screen presentations to suit pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight conditions. The inclusion of capable data processing and recording provisions supports a variety of diagnostic and analytical features that demonstrate the readiness to enter flight testing. The selectable displays of real-time parameters permit early confidence in results as well as efficient retesting where required. Based on lessons learned, Northrop Grumman DSD has already identified improvements that can enhance its next generation of instrumentation.
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