AIR 5402 replaces the Boeing 707 Air-to-Air-to-Air refuelling capability and provides a 3-D vision Boom refuelling capability. This created many unique Human Factor challenges, including the operation of the Boom remotely using 3-D vision, manipulating a complex system that allows multiple aircraft to refuel simultaneously and to rapidly reconfigure from Boom to hose and drogue refuelling.
Nova Systems were engaged to provide specialist Human Factors advice and support to review the current Human Factors acceptance program and to develop a test program which would allow for key milestones to be met with minimal impact. Nova Systems developed, conducted and reported on the Human Factors testing, providing a turn-key solution for the Project Office.
The results of Nova Systems’ testing was used to inform the airworthiness system and this contributed significantly to approval for the RAAF to conduct operations. Nova Systems continues to provide advice in the Human Factors area including the development of acceptance test methodologies and plans for the Boom refuelling. This includes the conduct of Human Factors analysis, review of Airbus Military Human Factors test documentation and reports, and development of acceptance test plans on behalf of the Project Office.
This task highlighted that while complex and unique systems provide substantial operational benefits, the same complexity requires a detailed Human Factors plan that from the start of design through to production and acceptance; to ensure that the system can be safely and effectively operated in the intended role and environment.