The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has used Cobham’s air-to-air refuelling (AAR) systems and modelling expertise to help attain F-35B receiver clearance for mid-air refuelling from the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Voyager tanker.
For the first time, AAR modelling and simulation technology provided by the company has been used in the aerial refuelling clearance process for a receiver aircraft.
Cobham Simulation and Modelling manager Henry Clarke said: “We use modelling to help our customers test the performance and boundaries of our AAR equipment in a highly accurate and realistic way.
“Our aim is to provide them with enough substantiated evidence that they can minimise the number of flight trials needed to test the equipment thus saving a great deal of time and cost, as well as reducing pilot and aircraft risk”
The company will deliver wing air refuelling pods and centre-line refuelling systems to the RAF’s Voyager tanker, in addition to the probe on the F35B Lightning II short take-off / vertical landing (STOVL) variant and the F-35C carrier variant.
Clarke added: “To support the MoD we validated our high fidelity AAR system model against existing flight test results and were then able to accurately reproduce the refuelling environment for the Voyager and F-35.
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“Within this simulated reality, we were able to thoroughly test the performance of the aircraft AAR systems across the whole refuelling envelope.”
Built by Lockheed Martin, the F-35B is the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft specifically designed to operate from simple bases and a wide number of air-capable vessels near front-line combat zones.