Related webinar: Air systems: rapid analysis with plug-in architecture. 19 June, 2:00 pm EDT
Customers building advanced aircraft systems typically rely on a wide range of tools and simulations during concept definition and the various stages of development. For example:
|MATLAB and similar types of engineering analysis tools that support scripting and functions to represent the systems on the vehicle.
|Strengths. Great for generating actual algorithms for use on the aircraft. Good for individual engineers and small design teams where flexibility and rapid turnaround are important.
||Limits. Limited in their ability to operate in a fully realistic environment that captures how the aircraft will operate.
|C++ (or other robust computer code) simulations and models that are built by software engineers, frequently using the MATLAB functions as specifications for more robust and configuration-controlled representations of the aircraft.
|Strengths.. Industrial-strength, mission-critical systems which benchmark the design of the aircraft. Core of the airframe builder’s expertise.
||Limits. Sizable investment, substantial intellectual property, capital-intensive, long lead time.
|Data analysis tools used to collect and represent the output of the mission critical models and simulations as well as flight test data.
|Strengths.MATLAB: extensive customized graphics capability. Excel: easy to see how the numbers flow through the formulas in algebraic ways.
||Limits. Lacks viable time-dynamic animation or visualization capabilities, often making it difficult for teams to understand what the C++ sim or MATLAB model is really producing.
What is often not considered is the means to tie these different modalities together and enable workflows to streamline the integration in order to reduce design cycle time or to do more design iterations up front resulting in fewer downstream issues to fix.
Because the mission critical simulations are so capital intensive, features often considered “nice to have” are sometimes sacrificed with the idea that adding more people to the problem will improve the process. Large or virtually unlimited budgets almost guarantee no shortage of people, but as teams gets larger, the marginal cost of process improvement declines and projects can run the risk of having too much organization and not enough technical flexibility to get the job done. The need for efficiency with these tools is important. There is a need for tools that make it easier to exercise the MATLAB and C++ simulations and do timely forensic analysis to reduce cycle times and enhance the learning that happens with every run.
The challenge of integrating disparate tools into a single, physics-based, multi-domain environment costs significant time and the ability to run multiple iterations.
- A tool that is capable of integrating with MATLAB-like tools to exercise the designs in more realistic dynamic scenarios.
- A tool where the MATLAB pieces and the C++ mission critical pieces can be run inside of an environment designed to model multiple vehicles moving around dynamically, with a wide array of visualization and analysis tools, making it quick and easy to define realistic dynamic scenarios, exercise those pieces, “twist the knobs” and iterate, then replay and dig into the results with impactful visual/graphical tools.
Systems Tool Kit (STK), combined with the STK Aviator module, is designed to integrate user’s performance models from numerous external data sources into its own physics-based, modeling and analysis environment. While Aviator has many aircraft performance modeling capabilities on its own, its added value to major aircraft programs is its ability to integrate with simulation models from MATLAB or C++.
Aviator provides over 20 types of flight procedures with dozens of special maneuvers and guidance systems. This enables an engineer or analyst to rapidly build a sophisticated test case, perhaps using data that takes a few seconds to pull up from STK Aviator’s built in capabilities and fly that against the MATLAB process or mission critical simulation, with an interactive workflow to rapidly cycle the design to achieve the desired results, speeding up the process and maximizing the ultimate product quality.
Related webinar: Air systems: rapid analysis with plug-in architecture. 19 June, 2:00 pm EDT. Interested? Click here to register.