You are here

AN/ALE-47(V) Software Test Environment Automated Scenario and Mission Data File Test Generator Software


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Info Systems, Electronics 

OBJECTIVE: Develop and produce AN/ALE-47(V) Countermeasure Dispenser Set Software Test Environment Automated Scenario and Mission Data File Test Software. 

DESCRIPTION: The AN/ALE-47(V) Countermeasures Dispenser Set (CMDS) is installed in nearly every Department of Navy active aircraft—approximately 3,700 aircraft—as well as several Air Force, Army, and foreign military aircraft. The CMDS is a critical component of the Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE) Suite and is integrated with advanced Missile Warning Systems, Radar Warning Receivers, Mission Computers, and advanced expendables. Each Type/Model/Series (T/M/S) of aircraft utilizes a unique ALE-47 Mission Data File (MDF). These MDFs are mission-critical software that must undergo extensive ALE-47 Hardware-in-the-Loop testing prior to fielding. Each platform T/M/S receives an MDF update approximately every 18 to 24 months. The ALE-47 Software Support Activity (SSA) develops and tests approximately 40 MDFs per year, which includes operational MDFs, flight test MDFs, integration MDFs, and special purpose MDFs. The testing is conducted on the ALE-47 Software Test Environment (STE), which is a Windows PC-based test station to simulate ALE-47 CMDS multiple aircraft configurations and expendable magazine payloads with data capture of CMDS 1553 AV/EW Bus, Sequencer Data Link, Cockpit Control Data Link, and Discrete Input/Output (I/O). The test report is a sequential data capture of all I/O including dispense patterns with a 1 millisecond (ms) resolution. The test requirement is extensive because every manual, semi-automatic, and automatic program must be tested and verified under differing scenarios of expendable magazine loadouts and aircrew/platform/threat scenarios. Up to 256 threat-emitter IDs can be sent to the ALE-47 from the Radar Warning Receiver for threat processing, as well as Missile Warning Threats and aircrew Manual Dispense Program requests. In addition to the dispense requests, there are up to 16 different expendable countermeasure magazine loadouts (with associated inventory) available to be loaded on the aircraft. Aircraft Mission Computers can also send navigational data (i.e. airspeed and altitude) over the Avionics MIL-STD-1553 bus to the ALE-47 to be used for additional countermeasure response determination. The number of dispensers used by various aircraft varies between 2 and 18, and testing every possible combination of the magazine loadouts, as well as sequencing of dispense processing requests, can be a substantial effort. There is a significant opportunity to automate some of the MDF test process to reduce cost, schedule, and defect rates. The current cost, schedule, and defect rate of an MDF project varies based on the complexity of the MDF. An average estimate of current test cost is 150 work hours and takes approximately four weeks. Defect rates are captured during initial developer test. They are reduced via the test, fix, test process and then the MDF is handed over for Independent Validation & Verification (IV&V) where defects can still occur, but normally at a reduced rate because the majority of defects should have been resolved during initial MDF developer test. In addition to these defects there are sometimes situations where a defect can exist in a delivered MDF due to the inability to run every single different scenario that could occur during a flight scenario. The average defect rate during developer test is 20 and during IV&V is on average 5. We have very few documented defects in delivered MDFs, over the past 12 months there have been 2 defects found during on-aircraft test. The SSA delivers approximately 50 MDFs per year. The ALE-47 SSA utilizes a STE to conduct this ALE-47 MDF testing. The current test process requires a significant amount of time for a person to develop platform-specific simulation scripts, operate the STE during test (user interaction may include changing system mode and/or initiating dispense requests), initiating macros (e.g., scripts containing a dispense event), and to load, reload, and modify expendable inventories. An automated test environment would greatly reduce cost and schedule associated with MDF testing. The current STE Simulation Manager Software programming language is in C++. Testing priorities include: 1) automate the ability to run the test until all Magazines are empty., 2) automate the process of verifying the dispense program (timing) is within specification, 3) automate the process of verifying program, payload and zone substitution is per the specification, and 4) automate the process of running each dispense source multiple times in various orders and reloading the inventory as necessary to support the automation. Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. Owned and Operated with no Foreign Influence as defined by DOD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures have been implemented and approved by the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this contract as set forth by DSS and NAVAIR in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advance phases of this contract. 

PHASE I: Conduct detailed analysis of the current ALE-47 MDF design structure and test philosophy and review of the STE existing Simulation Manager Software. Determine, develop, and demonstrate capability that can be added to the existing STE software package to automate some of the test capability including test development, test execution, test validation, and test report generation. 

PHASE II: Further develop software designs and demonstrate the prototype software functionality on the ALE-47(V) STE. Conduct a design review of the final proposed software code. It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details). 

PHASE III: Develop an Acceptance Test Procedure (ATP) and complete an ATP for Government acceptance. Transition software tools/modifications to the Government-controlled Configuration Management (part of the ATP will be for the Government to compile and load STE III software and any new tools). Transition to PMA 272 for official use in the ALE-47 SSA and offering to other ALE-47 STE customers. Automated MDF testing could be applicable to other DoD systems that utilize a mission data file concept to control unique system functionality across aircraft configurations. If commercial companies are developing ALE-47 MDFs, this product would also be useful for the private sector. This topic may benefit organizations such as Air Force ALE-47 Joint Software Support Activity, Air Force ALE-47 User Commands that develop ALE-47 MDFs by incorporating the same or similar technology in their test environments. 


1: AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser System [CMDS].

2:  Cloer, L. "13 Facts About the ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser System (CMDS)." Duotech, July 12, 2017.

3:  MIL-STD-1553B, Digital Internal Time Division Command/Response Multiplex Data Bus (1978).

KEYWORDS: Automated Test; ALE-47; Mission Data File; Software Development; Software Design; C++ 


Carla Benavides 

(904) 317-1923 

Glenn Marshall 

(301) 342-6735 

Robert Burkhart 

(904) 317-1759 

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government