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MISSILE MAN

The AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System helps protect Army aircraft from attack by shoulder-launched missiles and other threats. To keep this defensive system operating at maximum effectiveness, the Army periodically updates the software on the more than 1,000 units in use around the world.

Before new updates are fielded, however, they must be thoroughly tested to make sure the software performs as expected. Thanks to collaboration between researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and the Army Reprogramming Analysis Team (ARAT), that testing can now be done in a new integrated support station (ISS) that puts the software through its paces under conditions simulating actual aircraft operation.

Using a standard AN/AAR-57 system unit and associated sensors, the ISS tests software updates under a wide range of scenarios and conditions to make sure they will perform as expected.

“The ISS creates an environment by feeding data to the sensors, simulating threats, and monitoring the responses the unit makes to the simulated threats,” said William Miller, a GTRI senior research scientist who leads the project. “The ISS then correlates the results to make sure the system’s responses are what should be expected from the threat information fed into the system.”

The ISS development was part of a multi-phase program that transferred sustainment of the AN/AAR-57 software from the system’s original equipment manufacturer to the Army. GTRI has been involved in the effort since 2010, working closely with ARAT program staff and leaders housed on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta.

William Miller

William Miller is a senior research scientist who directs GTRI’s project with the Army Reprogramming Analysis Team.

The AN/AAR-57 Integrated Support Station uses detectors from the missile warning system to simulate actual operation. (Photo: Rob Felt)

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