Designing for Human Factors in the Technology-Intensive Domain of Fighter Aircraft

Designing for Human Factors in the Technology-Intensive Domain of Fighter Aircraft

Jens Alfredson (Saab Aeronautics, Linköping, Sweden) and Rikard Andersson (Saab Aeronautics, Linköping, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/ijatem.2011070101
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Abstract

This paper aims at describing how to design for human factors in the technology-intensive domain of fighter aircraft. Similar to space industry, the fighter aircraft industry has to manage technology-intensive development where the end user often has implicit or explicit human factors requirements or expectations that has to be managed though design. This paper describes the specifics of the domain of fighter aircraft development with examples of what is special and design concepts to handle it. Specifically useful human factors' considerations are highlighted and recommended approaches for managing human factors in development of fighter aircraft are described.
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Introduction

This paper is about how to design for human factors in the technology-intensive domain of fighter aircraft. Similar to space industry, the fighter aircraft industry has to manage technology-intensive development where the end user often has implicit or explicit human factors requirements or expectations that has to be managed through design. And similar to challenges within the space domain of how to manage complex technology innovation and development (Szajnfarber & Weigel, 2012; van der Veen, Giannoulas, Guglielmi, Uunk, & Schubert, 2012) the fighter aircraft domain has to manage innovation. However, also domain specific constraints have to be considered when designing for human factors.

Due to natural limits in education and training or other ways of changing the user’s characteristics, the long time evolution of technology to support the fighter pilot is central for future use of the fighter aircraft developed today, to become significantly better. A fighter aircraft has state of the art technology and subsystems that are designed to provide the pilot with large amounts of information and are ready to execute the pilot’s commands swiftly and precisely. In addition, the pilot is highly capable, selected among the best and educated and trained over a long period of time. Frequently, there is a bottleneck between the competent system and the competent user, when large amounts of important information should be sent between the two in fast interaction. The question of how to manage human factors issues is therefore central to the development of fighter aircraft.

The objective of this paper is to highlight important aspects of human factors and how they could be managed in the domain of fighter aircraft development. First, the domain of fighter aircraft development is introduced to readers who are not familiar with its characteristics, followed by a section describing what is special about a fighter pilot, a fighter aircraft, and the flight environment and some design concepts used in the domain. The latter part of the paper concerns human factors and how human factors can be managed during development. Here, methods and techniques for human factors, as well as development, are discussed in the domain context of fighter aircraft development.

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