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.