C4iSR: Air

F-35 mission software stability poses greatest risk to USAF IOC

07 March 2016
A software stability problem that interferes with the F-35 radar's ability to remain on while in flight poses the greatest threat to achieving USAF IOC in 2016. Source: Lockheed Martin

Key Points

  • A software glitch that interferes with the F-35 radar's ability to remain working in flight poses the greatest threat to meeting the USAF's IOC schedule
  • Training on a new increment of ALIS and a fuel pressure modification are the other two unresolved issues

A software glitch that interferes with the ability of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter's AN/APG-81 AESA radar working in flight poses the greatest threat to delaying US Air Force (USAF) plans to declare its jets operationally deployable, a top service official told IHS Jane's on 4 March.

Major General Jeffrey Harrigian, director of the air force's F-35 integration office at the Pentagon, described the problem as "radar stability - the radar's ability to stay up and running" using the 3i software that the air force intends to use when it declares initial operational capability (IOC) for its fleet sometime between 1 August and 31 December.

"What would happen is they'd get a signal that says either a radar degrade or a radar fail -something that would force us to restart the radar," Maj Gen Harrigian said in further describing the issue.

The issue arose in late 2015, according to the general. "We first started to see it in testing," he said.

"Lockheed Martin discovered the root cause, and now they're in the process of making sure they take that solution and run it through the [software testing] lab." He added that new software that corrects the error is to be delivered to the USAF at the end of March.

To correct the software quickly, some code writers were diverted from their work on increment 3F, Maj Gen Harrigian said. However, any solution to the problem in increment 3i will be transferable to 3F coding, so both increments will benefit from the work.

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