Thursday, 2 June 2011

LCA Tejas Smokewinders to be used for wake penetration trials

Smokewinders on LCA Tejas are designated to be operational during wake penetration trials and demonstration flights. LCA had used Smokewinders for aerial display during the recently concluded Aero India 2011. The smokewinders will be now used during the forthcoming wake penetration trials of Tejas for flow visualization in flight. The integration of these smokewinders to Tejas comprised designing special adapters to carry in place of conventional missile launchers, modification to the stores management system for providing adequate electrical interface, ground integration checks prior to installation on aircraft, obtaining flight clearances notes before flight. Etc.

LCA program also uses airborne separation video system (ASVS) to test stores separation activities. Stores separation activity by nature is extremely flight safety critical and comprises jettisoning external drop tanks. Firing missiles and separation of bombs from all the hard points under different flight conditions. A lot of efforts have been made in terms of modelling through computational fluid dynamice (CFD) to theoretically demonstrate the safety of the parent aircraft. However, these models and theories needed flight validation in Tejas. T
hese LCA Tejas LSP 4 model validations were done through an onboard ASVS system. ASVS was integrated on Tejas in order to generate flight test data for all the stores which were separated from Tejas including 1000 lb MK-11 bombs, external drop tanks, practice bombs and close-combat missiles (R-73).

This kind of system was conceptualized and integrated for the first time in this country to validate the CFD models. The system comprises MIL qualified high-speed digital cameras, central controller to control these cameras, indigenously designed pod to carry the cameras on aircraft, indigenously designed camera, lens mounts and software for extracting and generating 6-DOF parameters for the separated stores. The effort required in integrating the entire system has performed to its full potential over multiple flights. The CFD predictions have been quite close to the data generated by ASVS thereby assisting the programme to achieve the targets set for operational clearances in terms of weapon integration.