From a thesis project to an operational rig for testing of life support systems

A new basic aircraft rig for testing of the life support systems in Gripen E has been unveiled. The rig, which has been dubbed Life Support Rig, was recently inaugurated at Saab’s facilities in Linköping.

Testing is now commencing which will lead to a well-functioning system for the supply of breathable air to pilots and to protect them from g-forces.

GripenE LSRigg

"The purpose is to verify the comfortability and safe system functionality in even the most demanding situations, such as flying at altitude and when performing extreme maneuvers. At the same time, the risk of incidents is minimized in forthcoming flight tests," says Dan Kärvell, Test Techniques Manager for Life Support Systems, business area Aeronautics.

During the initial test period, a test dummy will be connected to a respiratory simulator. The respiratory simulator is a Saab design which began as a thesis project.

GripenE LSRigg

"We recognized the need for our own respiratory simulator, since we had always needed to borrow one externally. The thesis project produced a compact, simple design in comparison to the alternatives available on the market. The test dummy and respiratory simulator contribute to more efficient testing as they free up resources and allow for testing at the greatest extremes," says Dan Kärvell.

Pilots will be involved in the testing later on, which will add yet another dimension to the tests through subjective assessments.