Programming nav data in the Viper

Operating an F-16 on the ground or in the air - from the engine start sequence, over replacing a wing, to aerial refueling procedures
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cmjohnson

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Unread post01 Aug 2004, 05:36

Would someone care to tell me a little bit about the amount and types of programming that are required in an F-16 for various types of missions?

I'm referring to navigational programming, primarily. Steerpoints, etc...

I don't have much info to go on myself because when it comes to F-16s, all my flight time is simulated, and when I start up a mission all the necessary data is already programmed in. Not too realistic in that respect.

If there have been substantial changes in how it was done on older versions of the F-16 vs. the newer types, feel free to tell about either or both.

CJ
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LinkF16SimDude

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Unread post01 Aug 2004, 07:40

In the pre-Data Transfer Cartridge (DTC) days you had to hand program the nav route via the FCNP, and weapons conditioning and release info via the SMS SCP. For the FCNP this included steerpoint lat/long, elevation, any offset aimpoints involved, VIP/VRP data, TOTs, BINGO fuel level, "home" mode steerpoint, etc. I'm probably leaving other stuff out so my apologies ahead of time.

Post-OCU A/Bs and all post-Block 25 C/Ds (IIRC) have the DTC capability as standard equipment. You can still manually enter stuff but the DTC really simplifies things. Essentially all the stuff you used to do by hand while in the jet you now do on a cartridge programmer (probably PC based nowadays) in the mission planning room, take the cartidge to the jet, plug it into the DTC slot, and with a few UFC button pushes download the entire mission profile into the appropriate onboard systems (FCC, SMS, FCR, Radios, etc.). This of course doesn't stop you from manually making corrections or alterations afterwards as mission requirements may, and usually do, change during the flight.

If I've missed something or need my info updated, anyone's free to chime in.
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Radio_Head

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Unread post04 Aug 2004, 06:38

The DTC is now PC based. They load all mission essential data in the cartridge. The DTC now has a Digitial Terrain System and the new ones being tested have Digital Video Recording capability.
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LinkF16SimDude

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Unread post05 Aug 2004, 07:33

Oh yeah...DTS. Forgot 'bout that one. The AATC at Tucson was finishing that up right before I left in '99. It's probably standard equipment by now
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Meathook

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Unread post10 Dec 2004, 19:18

Lets see what I remember....

There was the DTE (Data Transfer Equipment) which Automated Data Entry and Retrieval which - Reduced the Pilot Workload - Saved up to 1600 Inflight Switch Actions - Standardized Mission Planning and Training - Instand Pre-Launch Data Entries - Detailed System Failure Data for Better maintenance - Reduced Mistakes and Expedited Briefing / Debriefing sessions.

It has (had) Solid State Memory Cartridge Stores that went into the cockpit, it provided Target / Steer Points / Stores Load Data / Chan / Freg and Master Mode Cap / Maintenance Data Recovery.

Basically... the Pilot plans the Mission Profile, Imputes A/C unique initialization data into cartridge......carries the Cartridge to his/her aircraft, Pilot then initializes A/C with DTC / DTM...then flies the mission.

After flight, Pilot removes DTC / DTM (with flight data) from aircraft for Debriefing...

Pretty cool and simple system but not easy to maintain (sometimes) but it works well for the design.
More than likely have "been there and done that at some point", it sure keeps you young if done correctly
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LinkF16SimDude

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Unread post13 Dec 2004, 00:19

Does the CCIP upgrade make any changes or improvements to the DTE, either in the hardware, functionality, or maintainability areas?
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falcon-watcher

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Unread post17 Dec 2004, 14:15

My understanding is that each DTC (newer version) has a capacity of 72 MB.

Is this correct?
In today's data-driven world, this seems like a small number.

1) The DTC is pretty big...about the size of a book...when we have flash memory USB keychain units that can hold 1000 MB (1 GB), why is this unit so big (or why can't it hold more memory)? Or does it really need to? Does this type of nav info not take up a ton of storage?

2) How many DTCs does a "typical' mission require?
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parrothead

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Unread post17 Dec 2004, 19:18

72 MB :shock: ?! That's it?! There are SD memory cards the size of postage stamps that hold a GIGABYTE! It's probably due to the fact that the military has to keep its equipment so long due to the cost involved in replacing the equipment in every jet :roll: . Maybe a mod at the depot level when the jet comes through?
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falcon-watcher

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Unread post17 Dec 2004, 19:59

You have a good point about the cost/upgrade issue. I remember walking through an AWACS and looking at some of the computer equipment which was very large. Clearly, this stuff could be made smaller with existing tech however, I think there is definitely an "if it ain't broke..." attitude here...I mean, it it works, why mess with it?

Regarding the size, perhaps there are operational environmental conditions to consider...those SD cards are fragile (I know, I've been using them a lot lately!)

But the real issue is whether 72 MB is simply enough capacity for the type of data used.
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EriktheF16462

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Unread post17 Dec 2004, 21:54

EMP hardening is an issue with all mililtary computers to get that cert takes time and by the time it is certed newer, bigger, faster is already out for our desktop. There was a time when the Shuttles had less than 1meg in the FCC. The older ACIU was less than that when it first came out. Plus more memory does not make it better. Much of our PC memory is wasted on eye candy and the processing power to make that happen. You don't need a lot of eye candy to fly a military jet.
F16 462 AD USAF. Crew dog for 3 and Even a pointy head for a few months.
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Gus

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Unread post19 Dec 2004, 04:20

The mega-DTCs hold 72 or 80 MB depending on the version. They're used to hold digital terrain data for the DTS.

I heard one-time that Fairchild had the AF by the you know whats and the AF couldn't develop their own DTCs..unverified.

Way back when I remember it took an act of Congress to get a computer made by somebody other than Cromemco...clunk...clunk...clunk
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LinkF16SimDude

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Unread post20 Dec 2004, 00:09

Interesting insights!

RE: For only 80MB, why is the DTC so big?

I believe someone already touched on it but I think it boils down to being ruggedized. It has to take a beating (not only on the ground but in the air) and still perform as advertised. Maybe even be a little bit crash-survivable? I don't think the average SD memory stick can claim that. Hence the bulky housing. It may also have had the requirement to fit the existing recepticle in the jet. As a comparison, older Panavia Tornados had DTCs that were ruggedized cassette tapes the same size as your regular audio cassettes. Can't remember just now what the capacity was on 'em though.

RE: Why only 80MB? Why not max it out?

The the DTC doesn't have to house an entire Windows-sized operating system. Just data in an easily accessable format. It's still essentially just a data storage unit accessed by an outside user(s). And for the data and mission parameters involved, 80MB may just be more than enough, as falcon-watcher noted. But then again, once upon a time Bill Gates commented that he thought that nobody would ever need more than 64K of memory for anything worth doing. :lol:
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elp

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Unread post20 Dec 2004, 18:01

Still say the thing needs sat TV with all the sports and hunting/fishing channels for those really long flights. THAT would be an upgrade. :lol:

edit:

OMG sorry ladies I forgot- Home shopping channels and daily soaps too.

>>> whew <<<< glad I caught myself on that one. :o
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parrothead

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Unread post21 Dec 2004, 07:27

Good points everyone! I just see the advances in consumer data storage and forget how the military aviation community works sometimes. True, the nav data shouldn't take up too much room.
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JR007

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Unread post04 Jan 2005, 23:26

elp,

I've been on the road for a while and trying to catch up with what I've missed.

I damn near fell into the floor after I read your reply!

Thanks for a great laugh!!!
Burning debris never reversed on anyone…

JR
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