IEEE Computer Volume 15 Number 10 -- NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH
Original Publication Date: 1982-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Software Patent Institute
Demetrios A. Michalopoulos: AUTHOR [+2]
NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH * Uniquely maneuverable fighter plane to use digital processors * Image processing enhances laser genetic surgery
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NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH
New Products Editor: Prof. Demetrios A. Michalopoulos
California State University, Fullerton
Uniquely maneuverable fighter plane to use digital processors
The US Air Force is developing a fighter plane that will incorporate a digital flight control system, an automated maneuvering attack system, and voice interaction that frees a pilot's hands for crucial tasks.
The AFTI/F-16 moves along unconventional flight paths that can perplex an enemy, assure greater accuracy in weapons delivery, and offer pilots far better chances of survival, the Air Force stated. In one maneuver, for example, the AFTI/F-16 can turn without banking; it does this by sliding sideways in a "wings-level" turn. If the pilot were to see a target in his one o'clock position, he'd simply command the aircraft to turn toward it without banking and deliver weapons in less time than it takes a conventional aircraft to bank, turn, and fire.
The AFTI/F-16 has six modes of flight or flight maneuvers that cannot be executed by any other aircraft. These maneuvers are the result of its digital flight control system, or DFCS, which activates twin vertical canards (miniwings) beneath the fuselage and makes the best use of the trailing edge flaps and the horizontal tail. Slaved to the DFCS will be an automated maneuvering attack system for delivering weapons Jmore accurately with greater probability of pilot survival.
These new flight modes depend on a sophisticated, triply redundant electrical, rather than mechanical, flight control system. With three digital processors, the DFCS essentially translates the pilot's movements into electrical signals that activate the hydraulic system to deflect the aircraft's control surfaces. Each of the BOX 930 processors operates at 500,000 operations per second and has a 32,000-word PROM.
The use of digital processors instead of analog computers, as in other electrical flight control systems, builds versatility into the aircraft, the Air Force said. Many task-tailored control laws can be stored in the digital computer and be recalled at will by the pilot. New tasks can be added to the DFCS by writing new software programs. According to the Air Force, analog computers lack that flexibility and would have to be much larger to handle all the control laws. Data from the AFTI/F-16 program indicates that production versions of a DFCS would require less volume than an equivalent analog system.
The processors operate in an asynchronous mode, since they are set to begin any electrical task at diff...