The Test and Evaluation Directorate of the Air Warfare Centre provides support and advice throughout a weapon system life‐cycle including preview testing (risk reduction to inform acquisition), developmental, acceptance and operational Test and Evaluation (T&E). They needed a Range Safety Template Toolkit (RSTT) to enable the systematic and effective generation of range safety templates for Australian Defence Force (ADF) guided and unguided air weapons and vehicles.

There were four main justifications for the development of the RSTT:

  1. There is an enduring need to generate flight risk hazard analyses to support the testing, training with, and operation of air weapons.
  2. Previous ADF arrangements for flight risk hazard analyses generation were on a case-by-case basis and specific to each particular weapon in service.
  3. For many weapons, the ADF had no independent capability to generate flight risk hazard analyses, relying instead on those supplied by weapon manufacturers.
    Reliance on such analyses created two problems:

    1. The information needed to generate these may be unavailable to the ADF,
      leading to difficulties in gaining acceptance for use.
    2. The analyses supplied with weapons systems purchased from foreign countries can often not be modified for Australian conditions due to factors such as differing safety standards.
  4. There is an ongoing requirement for the generation of flight risk hazard analyses for newly-acquired weapon systems and the current arrangements are unlikely to adequately support some of these, particularly the longer-range weapons such as future Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) and longer-range Ground-Based Air and Missile Defence (GBAMD) capabilities.

RSTT facilitates analysis through high fidelity, six degree-of-freedom (6DOF) vehicle modelling and simulation. An appropriate model is developed from technical data for the vehicle of interest. It then undergoes massive Monte Carlo simulation using a range of mission and vehicle parameter tolerances. The simulation results, usually a database of Ground Impact Points, are statistically processed to develop the required risk products.

RSTT has been used for the safety assessment of a broad range of aerospace systems from 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
  • M982 Excalibur 155m PGM
  • HIFiRE hypersonic test vehicles
  • The atmospheric re-entry of the Japanese ‘Hayabusa’ spacecraft.

The Range Safety Template Toolkit is a capability developed by Shoal and Defence Science & Technology (DST) for the probabilistic flight-safety risk assessment of guided weapons, unmanned aerial systems and space vehicles. It represents a set of bespoke processes and software tools which perform probabilistic range safety analyses on complex, guided weapons, determining the safe operational boundary for a complex flight trial, complying with international Range Safety Standards. It is a unique capability globally, and was developed to meet the need of having safety templates produced in a robust, transparent way, that was acceptable to Australian defence decision makers.

RSTT has been developed under a rigorous Air Force-endorsed, airworthiness-related Engineering Management System (EMS), including development as ‘Level C’ software in accordance with the RCTA/DO-178B standard. Validation has been performed where possible by comparing results against OEM-provided reference trajectory and telemetry data, whether that be from OEM simulation or actual flight testing.

It is now used to perform flight safety analysis of aerospace vehicles and offers rapid generation of mission-specific templates that can be combined with geospatial information, such as asset locations and population densities. This means that it can provide casualty and damage estimates for mission operational planning and safety analysis.

RSTT saves trial costs by reducing the size of the danger area compared to traditional ‘deterministic’ template generation methods. RSTT has been embraced by Air Force but it is a joint capability. RSTT is acknowledged by the international range safety community as the best tool available for probabilistic guided weapon WDA generation.