As a proven leader in the global aerospace sector, Airbus designs, produces and delivers innovative solutions with the aim to create a better-connected, safer and more prosperous world. A commercial aircraft manufacturer, with Space and Defence as well as Helicopters Divisions, Airbus is the largest aeronautics and space company in Europe and a worldwide leader.
Spearheading Aerospace Innovation
Military aircraft are powered by cutting-edge digital technologies, so building world-class aircraft demands both precision engineering and expert software development. To ensure that aircraft always perform effectively in operations, it’s crucial that every aspect of their design is thoroughly tested to meet stringent regulatory and operational requirements.
Frank Westerbuhr, Senior Expert ‘Complex Avionic Systems Integration’ at Airbus Defence and Space outlines the challenge: “Our flagship Eurofighter can travel at over 2,000 kilometers per hour. To keep pilots and military personnel safe and ensure operational effectiveness, it’s critical that all aspects of an aircraft are tested in a wide range of scenarios—and that includes both the physical apparatus and every line of real-time computing code under the hood of our fighter jets, weapons systems and unmanned systems.”
Since Eurofighter will operate well into the 2060s, adapting the aircraft and computer systems to integrate new technologies as they emerge is vital for ensuring the long-term effectiveness of the aircraft. This also implies the need for stable, reliable system and software testing products with strong long-term vendor support and development.
Westerbuhr continues: “For the aircraft we are responsible for, such as the Eurofighter and Tornado, we have a fleet of test aircraft that we use to ensure that new customizations and developments work safely and effectively. It’s very important that the systems and software underpinning these aircraft are tested extensively.
He adds: “The Eurofighter is fitted with computer systems and many of our other aircraft and hardware also rely on software, so testing is required.”
To keep aircraft development running smoothly, system engineers and software developers create daily reports on progress, and provide feedback to management and stakeholders on a weekly or monthly basis to explain the latest advances in granular detail.
Taking Testing to New Heights
Airbus Defence and Space decided to support quality management processes with Micro Focus ALM/Quality Center, and later selected Micro Focus ALM Octane.
Westerbuhr comments: “As well as robust security features to protect sensitive defense data, it was crucial that any application management and quality control tools we implemented could deliver excellent visibility and the f lexibility to support each workflow required for each of our varied engineering initiatives. Micro Focus ALM/Quality Center and ALM Octane were able to deliver on all these requirements, while also offering powerful test automation capabilities. ALM Octane will give us new capabilities and agility.”