BAE exploring aircraft wiring test method

Oct. 22, 2012 at 8:16 AM
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LONDON, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- BAE Systems UK reports that it is working on a project to develop an automated aircraft wiring test capability for British air force Tornado aircraft.

In a test, a company team attached an automated aircraft wiring test system normally used during new production build, to a Tornado jet and demonstrated its ability to detect and identify electrical failures during detailed maintenance and upgrade programs.

"Modern fighter aircraft, such as Tornado, contain thousands of wires that carry vital information and perform important tasks," the company said. "With all these electrical wires and connectors there are inevitably wiring failures and insulation breakdowns ... caused by a number of factors including operational flying, aging of the wires, aircraft modification programs and through maintenance.

"These failures can be potentially hazardous but are often difficult to detect through standard maintenance procedures, such as physical inspection."

BAE said it took three days to connect the system's test harness to the aircraft -- there are about 1,000 electrical connections to make -- but automated testing took 1 hour. During that testing time, 24,404 individual check cases were conducted. More than 400 wires per minute are checked, the company said.

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