Strike Technology Testbed

In the summer of 1991, a flight-test effort oriented to close air support and battlefield air interdiction began. The focus was to demonstrate tech­nologies to locate and destroy ground targets day or night, good weather or bad, while maneuvering at low altitudes. The AFTI/F-16 was modi­fied with two forward-looking infrared sensors mounted in turrets on the upper fuselage ahead of the canopy. The pilot was equipped with a helmet-mounted sight that was integrated with the infrared sensors. As he moved his head, they followed his line of sight and transmitted their images to eyepieces mounted in his helmet. The nose-mounted canards used in earlier AFTI/F-16 testing were removed. Testing emphasized giv­ing pilots the capability to fly their aircraft and attack targets in darkness or bad weather. To assist in this task, a digital terrain map was stored
in the aircraft computer. Advanced terrain following was also evalu­ated. This used the AFTI/F-16’s radar to scan terrain ahead of the air­craft and automatically fly over or around obstacles. The pilot could select minimum altitudes for his mission. The system would automat­ically calculate that the aircraft was about to descend below this alti­tude and initiate a 5 g pullup maneuver. The advanced terrain following system was connected to the Automated Maneuvering Attack System, enabling the pilot to delivery weapons from altitudes as low as 500 feet in a 5 g turn. An automatic Pilot Activated Recovery System was integrated with the flight control system. If the pilot became disori­ented at night or in bad weather, he could activate a switch on his side controller. This caused the flight control computer to automatically recover the aircraft putting it into a wings-level climb. Many of these technologies have subsequently transitioned into upgrades to existing fighter/attack aircraft.[1187]

Подпись: 10The final incarnation of this unique aircraft would be as the AFTI/F-16 power-by-wire flight technology demonstrator.