Embedded Avionics, Military

F-35 Software Blocks Begins Tests

By Tish Drake | November 16, 2010
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Lockheed Martin said Monday the "fundamental building block" for all future avionics software on its F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter has entered flight testing on an F-35 test jet.

"Block 1," the first of three principal software-development blocks for the F-35’s mission systems, made its inaugural flight on Nov. 5 in the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft known as BF-4. The functional check flight from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., lasted 1.5 hours, and all planned test points were accomplished, according to the company.

"Getting this software up and flying in an F-35 is a big step in the process of validating our avionics system and ensuring that it operates in a way that gives our warfighters a clear advantage over any adversary," said Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin F-35 program general manager. "The flight went as planned, and we look forward to expanded mission systems testing in the coming months."

The Block 1 software will enable most of the primary sensors on the F-35. Block 1 forms the foundation of all subsequent software blocks, enabling information fusion from the F-35’s radar, electronic warfare system, distributed aperture system, electro-optical targeting system and other sensors, and provides initial weapons-release capability. Block 1 has been undergoing airborne testing since May on the Cooperative Avionics Test Bed, a modified 737 airliner that incorporates the entire integrated F-35 mission systems suite.

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