Shoal’s Next Generation Flight Analysis Capability (NGFAC) is a capability that fits within the Decision Support and Analytics (DSA) program. It consists of a set of bespoke processes and tools for performing flight path analysis of complex aerospace vehicles. The capability allows Shoal to support clients in conducting complex flight trials in compliance with international Range Safety Standards, including the Australian Flight Safety Code, by evaluating the safe operational boundary of the proposed trial. It extends upon the Range Safety Template Toolkit (RSTT), a capability developed by Defence Science & Technology (DST) in partnership with Shoal, for performing probabilistic range safety analyses, for which Shoal holds a sole license to use and develop.
RSTT has been used for safety assessment of a broad range of aerospace systems across the Defence, civilian and research domains including the ASRAAM air-to-air missile, JASSM cruise missile, JDAM-ER long-range glide bomb, Javelin anti-armour missile, MU-90 torpedo, HIFiRE hypersonic test vehicles and the atmospheric re-entry of the Japanese ‘Hayabusa’ spacecraft.
Shoal recognised that, in order to maintain the capability of such a complex and contextual analysis toolkit and to continue to deliver quality analysis, a combined sustainment and development program was needed. The NGFAC Development project exists to identify and scope needs, focusing on providing risk analysis in line with the Flight Safety Code and military requirements, while creating a development environment that is more readily adaptable by modelling engineers, providing shorter pathways to delivering on the requirements of specific customers.
Existing RSTT documentation, including prior plans to sustain and upgrade the capability, were reviewed to define the needs. Key internal and external stakeholders were identified, including experienced users of the existing tools. Alternative approaches and tools were also assessed, in order to develop the upgrade and project management plans.
This research delivered a phased approach to establishing the NGFAC. It restored a capability to use and make small changes to the existing toolkit, and validation and verification of upgraded capability, as a first step. Building on the outcomes of a prototype project in 2017, MathWorks’ Matlab and Simulink were used as its core simulation engine and upgrade of analysis and reporting tools to the same platform planned.
NGFAC is a unique capability globally, developed to meet the need of having safety templates produced in a robust, transparent way, that was acceptable to Australian Defence decision makers. As a result, it saves trial costs by reducing the size of the danger area compared to traditional ‘deterministic’ template generation methods.