The certification and testing of new airborne structures is a costly undertaking. This paper presents which measures can
be taken to limit the cost and certification required in order to improve the capabilities of the current airborne as-sets, by
applying a building block approach to the design and certification of airborne pod structures.
A simple way of improving aircraft capabilities is by adding external pod structures, which has been performed for many
applications over many years. However, this paper describes a truly modular approach, in which a typical airborne pod
structure may be reconfigured to many various roles, with only limited re-certification requirements.
Using existing or general aerodynamic shapes, the basic outer shape for the external store is defined, which is then
combined with a modular substructure which can accommodate a large variety of electronic and/or optical sensors. This
also allows the airborne pod structure to perform several intelligence collecting operations during the same sortie,
thereby limiting the time spent near the danger area.
The re-use of existing substructure modules reduces the cost and leadtime of the design phase allowing for a rapid entry
into service. The modular design, relying on proven interface systems between the building blocks, significantly reduces
risk involved in new programs.
The certification process is also discussed in order to optimize the use of the pod structure modularity and certification
requirements in order to simplify the certification task, by drawing similarity to existing designs.
Finally the paper covers how modularity is implemented in new composite pod designs with stealth capabilities.