Pentagon gives F-35 new avionics, mission systems for 2021
- By Kris Osborn
- Jun 27, 2017
The Pentagon is upgrading mission systems avionics as part of a tech refresh effort for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that improves memory, storage, processing speed, display video and aircraft parametric data, industry developers said.
Lockheed Martin awarded a contract to Harris Corporation to provide the computing infrastructure for new panoramic cockpit displays, advanced memory systems and navigation technology, said Brad Truesdell, senior director of aviation systems at Harris.
The new hardware and software technology, to be operational on the F-35 by 2021, includes seven racks per aircraft consisting of 1,500 module components, including new antennas and weapons release systems.
Some of the components include an Advanced Memory System (AMS) engineered to improve data storage and generate higher resolution imagery to help pilots with navigational and targeting information.
“Instead of having to measure something in megabits or megabytes, we are now talking about terabytes,” Truesdell said.
The upgrades include a portable memory device which can quickly be transferred from a ground station to the F-35 cockpit.
The new avionics are intended to enhance the F-35’s sensor fusion so that information from disparate sensor systems can be combined on a single screen for pilots to lower the cognitive burden and quicken the decision-making process. New modules for mission systems will integrate into the F-35s Distributed Aperture System sensors and Electro-optical Targeting System.
Faster processers will also improve F-35 delivery of weapons enabled by the latest 3F software drop, such as the AIM-9X air-to-air missile. Improved radar warning receiver technology will more quickly identify enemy aircraft and integrate with the aircraft’s mission data files, or threat library.
Kris Osborn is a former editor of Defense Systems.