Performance JETS: Ushering in a new era of avionics platform virtualization for avionics systems

Hardware “digital twin” shortens client’s development cycle and reduces cost

The Problem

One of the world’s top systems suppliers was building a next-generation computing platform for Boeing’s commercial aircraft. Its initial attempt to repurpose an existing military platform for commercial use presented a number of unforeseen challenges. Fatal bottlenecks formed since the three target hardware sets available were not enough to support the large team of 47 developers necessary for testing at the required rate. This created much more work than was originally anticipated against a razor-thin timeline. Having worked with Performance Software on previous programs, the supplier knew this was a partner who was well-versed in safety-critical software and able to consistently deliver on time.

The Solution

Performance Software quickly realized that existing processes and technology simply were not good enough, particularly with the supplier already running behind schedule.  Moreover, problem debugging capabilities were inadequate, further increasing turnaround time for generating tests.  Facing an immovable deadline, Performance Software decided to take a brand-new approach that would eliminate the usual need for hardware at this stage and accelerate all steps.  JETS, a virtual machine (VM) that emulates the target hardware, was born out of need and opened up new opportunities to redefine how software is developed.

JETS served as a digital twin to the platform’s target hardware by running identical object code in a virtual environment.  This replacement shortened the development timeline by enabling real-time systems integration until the hardware was ready.  JETS also introduced a sophisticated debugger that increased both the amount and quality of information offered for each problem report while reducing the amount of time necessary to run that report (from two weeks for a single test to four hours).  Errors could now be found and fixed faster with little to no disruption to other parts of the system.  All of this was accomplished from JETS’s new desktop management client, which cut additional time and costs by eliminating tedious, lengthy lab hours. 

The resulting on-time delivery pulled in the end date for the client’s customer’s large program by avoiding potential delays to future steps.  Thrilled to have met its customer’s high expectations against all odds, JETS continues to be used today to reduce schedule risk, enjoy hardware cost reduction,  improve team morale (avoids night shifts at the lab) and increase software quality.

The Results

Accelerated Testing: JETS completed development and testing 300% faster for $800,000 in cost savings and problem reports 50% faster for an additional $200,000 in cost savings.

$1,000,000 savings via project speed

Lab Reduction:  On average, JETS saved the supplier 10 hours for each problem report while improving report quality and introducing new levels of convenience through desktop management.

8,000+ hours saved on problem reports

Hardware Independence: The client achieved over $300,000 in savings on hardware shipsets required for the large test team to meet the critical airplane schedule.

$300,000 hardware savings

Customer Satisfaction: The client was extremely happy, particularly due to JETS’s ability to help recover the mission-critical testing schedule.

New, exclusive systems partnership formed