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Flight Management System Support



Project Name:
Flight Management System Support

Aerospace & Defense

Software Life-Cycle

Project Scope

Over 500 KC-135 Stratotankers serve the United States Air Force for inflight refueling. Belcan participated in a series of military avionics upgrades for a United States Air Force application used in inflight refueling involving safety-critical systems for enhanced traffic avoidance and ground proximity warning.


These upgrades to the Flight Management System (FMS) were a joint effort with a major aerospace equipment provider with whom Belcan has worked closely for many years. The project was completed under tight budget and schedule constraints as one of the first government-managed projects The FMS was part of a larger system, which included a liquid crystal flat-panel multifunction flight display, and predictive wind shear weather radar.



The Belcan Team reused existing software and used tight management controls to speed development and ensure quality. Although certification was not required, standards-based development processes were used for a high-quality application.


Key Values / Benefits

Belcan created more than 130,000 lines of Ada code using the Rational Apex® integrated development environment. Ada compiler generated code was embedded on the target computer, and the various LRU interfaces included multiple MIL-STD-1553 data buses and many ARINC 429 data buses. The product contains three control display units, one acting as the master and the other two acting as slaves. The product also has the ability to read cartridge data including flight planning data, GPS almanac data, magnetic variation tables, and horizontal and vertical navigation capabilities.


The Belcan team completed the upgrade in just one-third of schedule time.

Multi-year schedule condensed to eight months
Projects of this size may require up to two years of development. Through reuse of existing software and tight management controls, the Belcan team and its partner completed the cockpit upgrade in an aggressive eight months. The rapid schedule was also possible due to the quick integration of Belcan’s capable and experienced engineering staff with the partner’s engineering staff. More than a dozen software engineers were effectively ramped up on the project within just one week.
Testing onsite produced quick results
A complete cockpit mockup was installed at Belcan’s facility to enable the team to test the product quickly.
Project completion within budget
Belcan’s judicious management of project and resource details delivered results ahead of schedule and well within the budget.
Belcan staffing flexed with project needs
Dedicated staff included program management, team leaders, and quality assurance. During the development cycle, Belcan staffed the project with lab technicians and as many as 20 software engineers.
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