Fighter Aircraft Performance Modeling, Simulation, and Flight Testing for Research and Development

by Terry E. Greene, R. L. Spicer

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A comparison of the effectiveness of current methods which measure fighter aircraft system performance. Involving various degrees of simulation, the techniques are (1) modeling (usage of computer programs to calculate aircraft and/or missile flight paths); (2) simulation (usage of one or more pilots on line with a computer and display system, "flying" simulated aircraft in real time); and (3) flight testing (usage of actual aircraft and hardware in simulated combat operations). The techniques are reviewed as to degree of experimental control, ease of variation of parameters, range of parameter variability, cost and time required per case, realism, and credibility. Modeling and simulation are useful to R&D decisionmaking, but must eventually be set aside in favor of experimental and demonstration testing of hardware. However, all three techniques can interact effectively in research programs.

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