Operational Test: Honing the Edge

Author(s): Dave Gledhill and David Lewis 

ISBN: 9781781555712
$19.00 $27.00

The inside story of how combat aircraft are tested, told by two experienced military evaluators.
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  • Operational Test is the science behind the designer’s dream

  • The operational commander of the Task Force want to know how his Typhoons will fare against the air threat in the operational test range: call in the operational evaluators

  • What is an operational test range? The reality can be stranger than fiction

  • Our correspondent reports that a Hercules transport survived an engagement from a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile in Iraq yesterday. Find out the reality behind the headline

The process to deliver a combat aircraft from concept to service is measured in decades. Described as a weapon system, designs such as the Eurofighter Typhoon are intricate jigsaws of new techniques and emerging technologies. By the time a new weapons system reaches the frontline, it will have been tested by the manufacturer, evaluated by test pilots and assessed by service pilots. There have been examples of success, but some spectacular failures with projects cancelled late in development.

Operational Test: Honing the Edge investigates why and takes the reader from the original requirement through complex testing and evaluation process showing recent examples of the path to declaring a new combat aircraft operational. It will look at how today’s test organisations have matured to meet the task and investigate the pressures they face. It also studies real-life examples of systems testing. David Gledhill and David Lewis, both experienced test evaluators, uncover the reasons why some aircraft serve on the frontline for years before becoming truly effective in their role.

BOOK ISBN 9781781555712
FORMAT 248 x 172 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 224 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 64 colour and 42 black-and-white photographs

Dave Gledhill is an aviation enthusiast and aviator. Having been awarded his pilot's licence at the age of 17, he was commissioned in the RAF in 1974 and trained as an air navigator, before converting to the F4 Phantom in the Air Defence role. After tours in the UK and Germany, he went on to be a radar tactics instructor on the Operational Conversion Unit. One of the first instructors on the new Tornado F2, he eventually became the Executive Officer on the OCU and OC1435 Flight flying the Tornado F3.

In his RAF career, David Lewis flew Phantoms and Tornados as a navigator and a weapons instructor. He also graduated from the Aerosystems course and served as a staff officer at the MOD and at Boscombe Down test centre.