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The development of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk2 is taking a significant step forward with the introduction of an Ironbird facility. This hardware-in-loop (HIL) testing environment plays a crucial role in evaluating the aircraft’s Integrated Flight Control System (IFCS) before actual flight testing commences.

As per tenders accessible by, ADA plans to start testing many of the key systems of the Tejas MkII program soon on the Ironbird Facility. ADA is planning to test onboard computers like the Digital Flight Control Computer (DFCC), Auxiliary Computer (AC), and Mission Management and Display Computer (MMDC) to generate a vast amount of data. 

This data is transmitted to various data recording Line Replaceable Units (LRUs). the data is downloaded for post-flight analysis to assess the aircraft’s performance and identify any potential issues. The data encompasses various formats, including analogue, discrete, digital, audio, and video, collected by onboard sensors and systems. The Ironbird facility replicates this data acquisition process in a controlled environment.

The Ironbird essentially acts as a flight simulator specifically designed for testing the IFCS. It mimics the actual aircraft by incorporating hardware components like cockpits, projection systems, and a network of LRUs configured similarly to the real aircraft. Additionally, a hydraulic source is integrated to simulate the hydraulic systems that power the aircraft’s flight controls.

This HIL setup allows engineers to inject various flight scenarios and operational stresses into the IFCS. The Ironbird then captures the data generated by the IFCS in response to these simulated situations. This data can then be analyzed to assess the performance and stability of the IFCS under various conditions.

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