Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Aviation Systems

Major Professor

Frank Collins

Committee Members

Peter Solies, Stephen Corda


The purpose of this study was to evaluate and provide recommendations for optimizing the Pilot Vehicle Interface for components of data link systems employed on and currently in design for the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet. Data was gathered using human factors research methodologies including descriptive studies, experimental research, and evaluation research. Additionally, flight and lab tests were used to gather data on systems that were mature enough in development. Overall, the study revealed that the interfaces for the systems evaluated could be modified in order to provide more situational awareness to the operator, allow for more logical display of information, and improve the operator interface with the overall effect of increasing the efficiency of the weapon system as a whole. While hardware display improvements would solve many display limitation problems with the Situational Awareness format, there are potential software solutions that were assessed to be adequate and much more cost effective. The software solutions will aid in displaying, on the Situational Awareness and expanded formats, information that is currently omitted under certain conditions. Decluttering the Track Number search format and Helmet Mounted Display while displaying pertinent information in a more concise manner will increase the efficiency with which the operator processes it. Displaying information on the Close Air Support format in a more usable format with the appropriate level of detail will help reduce the potential for fratricide. Standardizing the push button labels associated with the “cease” command function on the RECALL and NETS formats will significantly reduce operator workload, errors, and required training.

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