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NASA FLIGHT TESTS CORE COMPUTER ELEMENTS FOR VEHICLE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

NASA FLIGHT TESTS CORE COMPUTER ELEMENTS FOR VEHICLE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
 ST. LOUIS, Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- NASA is flight testing the core computer elements for a highly integrated Vehicle Management System (VMS) designed to provide significantly improved performance, control, survivability and safety for fighter aircraft.
 The Vehicle Management System is being developed by NASA's Ames Dryden Flight Research Division, McDonnell Douglas' New Aircraft Products Division (NAPD), and Smiths Industries' Grand Rapids Division.
 Flight testing began Dec. 16, 1991, at NASA's Ames Dryden Flight Research facility, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The test aircraft is NASA's Highly Integrated Digital Electronic Control (HIDEC) F-15 Eagle, which is used for aerodynamic and propulsion research.
 High-speed, reduced instruction set (RISC) parallel processing elements comprise the core components undergoing flight tests. These core elements will enable the VMS to achieve a sophisticated degree of integration and control involving many flight-critical systems such as avionics, navigation, flight control, propulsion, hydraulics, electrical power, armament, cooling and others.
 By integrating these systems, which now run independently, results such as increased engine efficiency and life, as well as self-repairing flight control, can be obtained.
 The high-speed computers' ability to gather, process and check data from individual flight-critical systems while the aircraft is flying provides a increased level of safety.
 Engineers from McDonnell Douglas' NAPD programmed flight control laws for the system using Ada language, managed system integration and conducted simulation tests of VMS technology. Smiths Industries developed the VMS computer. Both companies are assisting NASA in ground and flight testing of the dual-redundant digital flight control system executing in the VMS computer.
 The 32-bit VMS computer developed by Smiths Industries provides the powerful digital processing capability, built-in processing redundancy and flexible digital and analog interfaces necessary for integrated vehicle management and control systems.
 NASA's plans call for continued flight testing of integrated control concepts aboard the HIDEC F-15, using the VMS core elements. These include the Propulsion Controlled Aircraft and Performance Seeking Control systems that McDonnell Douglas' NAPD is developing under a NASA contract.
 Previous research involving the HIDEC F-15, such as the self- repairing flight control program and the advanced digital engine control demonstration program, has demonstrated that significant performance, survivability and safety gains can be made through the use of integrated control concepts.
 McDonnell Douglas (NYSE: MD) will continue to develop VMS technology with its own funds, including the application of fiberoptics to the integrated control of aircraft systems.
 NAPD guides development and application of advanced technologies at the McDonnell Aircraft Co. division, including efforts for the U.S. Navy's AX program, the U.S. Air Force's Multirole Fighter program and NASA's X-30 National Aerospace Plane (NASP) program.
 NAPD also develops advanced technologies for application on fighter aircraft already in service and is developing an advanced prototyping capability.
 -0- 1/17/92
 /CONTACT: Mary Ann Brett of McDonnell Aircraft Co., 314-234-7111/
 (MD) CO: McDonnell Douglas; NASA; Smith Industries ST: California IN: ARO SU:


EH -- LA023 -- 1185 01/17/92 17:36 EST
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Date:Jan 17, 1992
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