Reverse Engineering a Fourth-Generation Jet Fighter

As part of a major update for the Indian Air Force Mirage 2000’s, we were approached to provide the certification clearance analysis that would allow the aircraft to carry non-approved OEM stores on the outboard pylons. The major issue facing us was that certification had to be tackled in the complete absence of OEM aircraft design data, so it was necessary to reconstruct the data required using reverse engineering methods. This included the verification and validation of such data and the models created to support the upgrade.

Stirling engineers travelled to India to present the certification plan the regulatory body, CEMILAC and progressed to capture data from the physical measurement of the aircraft and its existing stores and proposed new stores.   In addition, Stirling engineers planned and supported wind tunnel tests, ground vibration tests, structural stiffness tests and flight tests of the unmodified aircraft to generate the required data.

Once the data was gathered and the models built and validated, extensive analysis on loads, stress, stability and control, handling qualities, flutter and divergence to determine the effect of the new stores on the aircraft characteristics and to demonstrate the safety of flight in advance of a flight test campaign with the new stores.

The aircraft modification was approved and certified and flight manuals updated. As one of Stirling’s largest projects, the Legend Programme highlights Stirling’s ability to produce highly technical results under very challenging conditions and to find innovative solutions to cater to a client’s needs.