Test and evaluation (T&E) provides the means for determining to what extent the weapon system satisfies its requirements, how well it functions in the operational environment and whether or not it should continue into production. T&E involvement begins at the time a new program is initiated and continues throughout the life cycle of the weapon system. During the conceptual phase, T&E involvement is relatively small, consisting primarily of familiarization of the system requirements, technical approaches and planning. As the T&E participants become familiar with the new system, the most important aspect of this early phase of the program is sound T& E planning. Once the missile system is introduced into services, T&E is performed in support of software and hardware configuration control, evaluation of product improvements and engineering change proposals and evaluation of problem areas detected in the operational environment. The goals of missile system T&E are achieved through the proper use of all the means of test and analysis at hand. All the tests provide required information to the designers regarding various performance parameters.
Review and understanding of technical documents, drawings, schematics to the extent of complete understanding of the system. This identifies the strong and weak points.
This involves operation of various subsystems in a controlled open loop laboratory environment to define the performance.
This involves mathematical representation of the missile subsystems in closed loop operation. Examples of most commonly used analytical simulations are Trajectory Simulation and Lethality Simulation. Trajectory simulation incorporates a non-linear 6-DOF aerodynamic and kinematic model that provides detailed representation of guidance and autopilot functions, simplified representation of other onboard systems. Lethality Simulation represents the terminal encounter to provide probability of kill information.
Hardware In Loop Simulation (HILS)
It is the closed loop analytical/hardware representation of the missile system used to evaluate missile performance as affected by guidance, seeker, signal processing. Sophistication and realism are obtained by integrating as much of the missile hardware (and appropriate sensor environment) as possible in case of analytical models. Hardware integration provides a valid, realistic and complete representation of the missile operation that cannot be achieved during analytical simulation.
No simulation can ever replace the actual test flight. Test launch of missile against live target provides various mission critical data, which is otherwise not possible with individual tests. Further, it provides the real time integrated performance of the complete weapon systems under test. In early days, emphasis was more on launching the missiles, and as a result, T&E data was derived almost solely from flight test. Although considerably more data from other sources could have been used in the evaluation, it was not available because of the inexperience in the missile system and T&E, as well as limited simulation technology and laboratory facilities.