efence Innovations’ Non-
Intrusive Flight Test
Instrumentation system is
now undergoing verification
and validation testing before being delivered to the Royal
Australian Air Force this year.
Non-Intrusive Flight Test Instrumentation (NIFTI) is
a means of conducting flight testing without having to
undertake expensive, intrusive and time-consuming
installation of wiring and sensors on the test platform.
Defence Innovations signed an acquisition contract
with the RAAF’s Air Warfare Centre (AWC) in October
2016 and the first complete system was delivered in
August 2019, subject to satisfactory completion of
verification and validation (V&V) testing.
The concept for NIFTI originated within Australia’s
Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) and has
been developed by Defence Innovations in conjunction
with the AWC’s Engineering Squadron and the Aircraft
Research and Development Unit (ARDU).
The NIFTI system uses a series of battery-powered
wireless sensors, which are either tri-axial
accelerometers or strain gauge interfaces and are applied
to the external skin or internal structure of an aircraft
with the use of approved methods of adhesion.
NIFTI uses a wi-fi system to send data to a data
acquisition gateway. The number of sensors that can be
used in any single test is determined by the sampling
frequency. Currently, upwards of 24 sensors can be made
readily achievable during a flight test..
The data acquisition gateway is a modular unit which
can be housed in a pod carried on any standard weapons
pylon for military applications and is sized for
installation inside a dummy AIM-120 Advanced Medium
Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) if required. For
other applications, the gateway can be mounted
wherever space permits.
Flight test data is transmitted from the gateway to an
iPad mini strapped to the test pilot or flight test
AEROSPACETESTINGINTERNATIONAL.COM // JUNE
// The traditional means of
instrumenting an aircraft for
the flight test role requires
intrusive wiring and sensors
to be fitted, such as in this
former ARDU F/A-18B
An Australian firm has developed
reliable and accurate wireless
instrumentation with the bandwidth
to meet the Royal Australian Air
Force’s flight test requirements