Safety & Design Considerations for the Cooperative Avionics Test Bed (CATBird) Aircraft 2005-01-3267
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is currently in the process of modifying a 737-300 aircraft from the standard airline configuration to an avionics test bed aircraft for use in developing the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 avionics suite. As simple of a concept as this implies, it is actually a complex design evolution as there are no recognized “standards” for test bed aircraft. The design evolution attempts to provide a recognized level of safety to an aircraft flown under an experimental airworthiness certificate. A test bed that most closely replicates the test article will be more productive. And, a test bed capable of testing all the desired systems both on an individual basis and as an integrated system will pay large returns to the test program.