The Science Behind Gripen E's Innovative Avionics
The modern battlefield is dominated by the fast changing technologies. For fighter aircraft, it is now brains over brawns. To win, one needs to have a tactical edge over the opponent. One way to do this is by keeping systems like the radars, sensors, weapons system up to date.
With Gripen, the ability to continuously upgrade hardware and software has been embedded in its very design. The split avionics or the separation of the flight critical and the mission critical, allows for easy changes so that the user is not stuck with the old features.
“With the new systems architecture and avionics in Gripen E, the integration of sensors and actuators occurs in a layered manner rather than the more traditional 'silo' structure. That is, when basic integration from a physical perspective is done, the software interfaces are made available to the system and from that point, value can be created by software applications which can be introduced in an agile manner,” says Johan Segertoft, development leader for the Gripen E program, Saab.
Segertoft explains the unique Distributed Integrated Modular Avionics (DIMA) of Gripen where all the line replaceable units (LRUs) work as one, single system. “Basically, from a logical perspective, you are working towards one system with the same set of rules and possibilities. This provide a lot of benefits in terms of verification and validation when you are able to run the exact same code towards the same application programmable interfaces in all environments irrespective of hardware or even operating systems,” he says.
For the Indian Air Force pilots, operating a fighter that is built for quick upgrades does not just mean staying technologically advanced, but also an enhanced operational readiness. With new technology at disposal, the IAF doesn’t need to send a part of their fleet for overhauls or big upgrades that takes months. As a result, more fighters can be deployed at a given time.
Mats Palmberg, Head of Gripen India Campaign, says,"Gripen’s advanced avionics means any new functionality can be added without reverification of the entire system. New systems can be integrated to the fighter in a quick and efficient way. It’s not far-fetched to say that some of these updates can also be made even between two missions. As compared to other contemporary fighters, Gripen’s ease of upgrade stands out. It is a unique capability that offers the Indian Air Force with air supremacy for years to come."
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