June 2022 | Content by Christian Borchardt, NAPMA Project Manager, CNS/ATM and Mission and Flight Sims

Black Label 5.0 gets fielded

The Flight Mission Software Suite (FMSS) Black Label 5.0 (BL5.0) software is about to be delivered after an intensive testing period. This period was divided into numerous contractor laboratory tests in the USA, and Ground & Flight tests in Germany. Taking the successful completion into consideration, all tests have one thing in common, the extremely goal-oriented cooperation between all involved and responsible parties - Collins Aerospace, Boeing, the NAEW&C Force, the NE-3A Component and NAPMA. An excellent example of close cooperation and team work.

As part of the CNS/ATM programme, the latest delivered and fielded FMSS Software is BL 4.0. The NAEW&C Force and NAPMA have identified several issues that have been determined to be necessary to change in order to optimize performance and to minimize the number of operational workarounds or restrictions. The resulting fixes in the software have led to the development of a new FMSS version called BL 5.0. This version needed to be coded, installed, laboratory and Aircraft Ground & Flight tested, as well as full Functional Qualification Tested (FQT). BL 5.0 will then be delivered for installation into the NAEW&C fleet.

NE-3A aircraft leaving Manching airfield after testing - aircraft going wheels up. © 2022 - NATO

Collins Aerospace updated the FMSS software to version BL 5.0 through incremental Red Label (RL) software releases. The first increment was called RL 4.1. Follow-on increments are referenced respectively as RL4.2, RL 4.3 and RL 4.4. All increments contain the fixes for the scope defined in the respective contract amendment. After testing of RL 4.4 in Boeings’ CNS/ATM Avionics Integration & Verification Environment’ (CAIVE) new issues were discovered. Consequently, Collins Aerospace was requested to implement fixes for these issues in a new RL 4.5 version. The corresponding scope included all activities associated with the design, development, integration, testing, and delivery of the software. RL 4.5 will serve as the final Red Label delivery and is considered the FMSS Black Label 5.0 candidate software.

In addition, NAPMA has the requirement to update both the NATO owned NE-3A Flight Training Device (FTD) and the Full Flight Simulator (FFS) with the latest CNS/ATM software update. Furthermore, the updated FTD & FFS will be qualified by a European National Aviation Authority (NAA) to Level 2 and Level D simulators respectively, as defined by the Joint Aviation Requirements for Aeroplane Flight Simulation Training Devices, JAR-FSTD A.

Flight Training Device (FTD). © 2022 - NATO

Full Flight Simulator (FFS). © 2022 - NATO

The update of both, the FTD & FFS, shall exactly reflect the current NE-3A aircraft configuration, functionalities and performance. Therefore, Collins Aerospace has rehosted the RL 4.5 software for implementation into the FTD & FFS. The contract defined Ready For Training declaration in the BL 5.0 configuration is scheduled for the end of 2022 followed by the re-qualification early 2023 to be ready for any User Acceptance Test activities thereafter including the NE-3A aircraft fleet and the FSTD.

NE-3A aircraft leaving Manching airfield after testing - ceremonial water salute. © 2022 - NATO

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