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Innovation is the introduction of something new, an improved product or method. One innovation that’s not necessarily new but continues to demonstrate innovation is the RASCAL pod program at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School here.
Conceived in 2006, The Reconfigurable Airborne Sensor, Communication and Laser - or RASCAL - pod provides a means of easily installing new instruments and technologies on board aircraft for flight testing.
According to Dan Carroll, program manager for the RASCAL pod, installing the test hardware in the pod, rather than into an aircraft, saves time and money.
“The pod has a tremendous impact on time,” Carroll said. “With current cutting edge technology, flight test equipment needs to be integrated, calibrated, and tested at the sub-system level. This can take weeks or months. We can’t always afford to take an aircraft off the line that long.”
With the RASCAL pod, the integration and calibration is done in the laboratory, then the pod is mounted on an aircraft for the flight tests. Since the aircraft no longer needs to be modified, it is available for other missions.
The pods are also useful for more short-notice projects. One example he cited was a project addition proposed by a customer, the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), with just five weeks’ notice before a scheduled flight test. “There is no way to accomplish the approval, design and installation on an Air Force aircraft in that time frame,” Carroll said. “With the pod, it was easily done.”
originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Tempter
They're all undergoing upgrades starting earlier this year. The first Pacer Classic III upgrade was finished last summer, and they're undergoing a digital upgrade to the cockpit starting this year.
The T-X won't even drop the RFP until the end of this year. They won't see IOC until at least 2023, and FOC won't be until the 2030s, which means the Talons will be flying until at least the late 2020s, if not until they hit FOC with the new trainer.