GRICAS Test Readiness Review kicks-off the in-flight demonstration phase

Since GRICAS Critical Design Review in November 2016, the GRICAS engineering team has completed the development and validation of the elements of the final demonstrator of in-flight automatic activation of a SAR beacon on-board an aircraft and performed the integration of the complete final solution: GRICAS ELT-DT prototype based on a SGB, GRICAS ELT-DT Remote Control Panel, On-board Demonstration Platform (emulating the avionics). Unfortunately, the pre-operational Return-Link Service Provider being not yet available, the very last step of integration of the final operational chain could not be performed.

The integration tests have been performed in 5 sessions:

  • Session 1: 25/01/2017, SPIRENT tests in CNES with ELTA and Thales Alenia Space
  • Session 2: 30/01/2017, in ELTA with PILDO
  • Session 3: 31/01/2017 and 01/02/2017, in Thales Alenia Space with ELTA, PILDO and CNES
  • Session 4: 23/02/2017, SPIRENT tests in CNES with ELTA and Thales Alenia Space to complete session 2.
  • Session 5: 15/03/2017 in ACBS with ELTA, Thales Alenia Space and PILDO during GRICAS Test Readiness Review.

The combination of the five session’s results in the execution of the complete integration test plan defined in the GRICAS deliverable Test Case Operational Integration Plan.

Thanks to the CNES, a SPIRENT was used in January (session 1) and February (session 4) to perform tests to assess the capacity of the GRICAS prototype ELT-DT to receive a RLM. The SPIRENT was used to simulate Galileo navigation RF signals including successively the 4 RL messages defined in GRICAS:

  • Manual acknowledgment
  • Automatic acknowledgment
  • Manual activation
  • Manual deactivation

Integration tests sessions 2 and 3 were dedicated to the integration of the complete demonstrator’s chain, session 2 being dedicated to the mechanical, electrical and functional validation of the interface between the ELT-DT and the ODP and session 3 to the entire chain integration. The tests were largely successful with minor unconformity

Finally session 4, the Test Readiness Review, took place in Barcelona Aeroclub de Sabadell on March 15th and confirmed that:

  • The test were completed successfully and non-regression test could even be performed with the same results.
  • The elements integration is ended and validated
  • The test cases are ready
  • The preliminary end-to-end tests are successful
  • The deployment on first demonstration site is ready: the tests were performed in the targeted test aircraft at the Aeroclub de Barcelona Sabadell where GRICAS first in-flight demonstration will take place en of April. See picture here under with GRICAS demonstrator on-board the CESNA 182 test aircraft.

Test Readiness Review proved the maturity of the project to start the in-flight demonstrations. The tests performed in the test aircraft mitigated the risks regarding this first in-flight demonstration.

Let’s meet for the first in-flight demonstration will take place in Barcelona at the Aeroclub of Barcelona Sabadell from April 24th to April 26th for further results!