Thursday, July 24, 2008

Upgrading RAF Spitfires

Upgrading military aircraft is of course a never ending process but you may think the Spitfire and other aircraft from that time would be long off the upgrades list. However the aircraft of the Battle Of Britain Flight have just received an avionics upgrade so they can continue flying in the 21st century. The upgrade to the 70 year old Spitfires, Hurricane, Lancaster and Dakota was needed because of mandated airspace policies in place in the UK and Europe.

Increasing amounts of airspace require aircraft to carry transponders with identification friend or foe Mode S (mode select) transponders that allow an airframe to be interrogated automatically (reporting back identity, intent, capability location and altitude) using an unique address. Without this equipment the BBMF aircraft would be restricted as to where they could fly.

Luckily fitting the equipment to the old aircraft wasn't too difficult, the fittings for the old IFF system were able to be reused so no changes were required to the aircraft's structures.

Republished from my general tech blog

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