Defense

March 7, 2014

Program executive officer describes F-35 progress

Progress remains steady in the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter’s operational testing, reprogramming, fueling, and stand-up training, the F-35 program executive officer told an audience at Aviation Week’s Defense Technologies and Requirements Conference March 4.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher C. Bogdan said software development is a key factor as the program progresses.

Software is, by its very nature, difficult to develop, the general said, especially when adding to it the complexities of multiplatform fusion, one of the main modification goals for the aircraft.

Even the smallest change to the software can have a big effect, Bogdan said, so repeated testing is required to ensure any software modification works properly.

Interim capability currently allows the F-35s to survey the battle space, absorb information and give the department a clear picture from an individual perspective, the general said. Meanwhile, he added, the software development aims to ensure not only that two jets can assess and fuse the information, but also that multiple systems can share and process the data — systems such as F-22 Raptor fighters, Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, B-2 bombers, satellites and ground stations.

Bogdan explained that finishing interim capability as quickly as possible with the resources at hand will help the program move to the next development phase. So far, he said, airframe and engine production schedules are stable and predictable, measuring milestones in days and weeks, not months and years.

“It’s more important to know when those lines will come out so we can get them to those bases and start that stand-up,” the general said.

The developmental test program is 50 percent complete for 28 F-35s, Bogdan said. At this time last year, he added, the program office delivered about 36 airplanes, with plans this year to deliver 36 to 38.

“In the next two years, that’ll go up to about 43, and then up into the mid-60s and then three years from now, over a hundred,” the general said. Most of the 58 operational F-35s in the field are in use for training at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Operational units are at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.; Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; and Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Affordability continues to be critical, Bogdan said, as officials devise plans to drive costs down in research, development, technology and engineering without requesting any further funds from Congress or the Defense Department. “The enterprise simply cannot tolerate us asking for more money,” he added.

Cost-cutting ideas include an integrated master schedule to synchronize and manage tasks, assess risks assessments, and determine critical paths, the general said. He cited examples including the Marine Corps’ initial operational capability, scheduled for fight testing completion in October and for developmental testing completion in November 2015.

“The [integrated master schedule] has shown us the critical path to both of those events is not software, … but modifications to the airplanes,” Bogdan said. This requires balancing aircraft availability with the need to take jets off the line for modifications.

Progress in a program as complicated as the F-35 requires discipline in the business model, Bogdan said.

“We simply cannot afford to have to do things twice on this program,” he told the conference audience. “We don’t have the time, and we don’t have the money. We know what our commitments are, and we’re going to do everything we can to deliver them.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Luke Lightning strikes at Nellis

F-35 program on right track, director says

Luke Lightning strikes at Nellis Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler An F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., taxis to the runway for a training exercise at Nell...
 
 
Army photograph

Army plans intelligence system to be lighter weight, easier to use

Army photograph During a media day, a soldier, with the Army’s intelligence community, demonstrates use of a portion of the Distributed Common Ground System – Army system on Fort Belvoir, Va., May 16, 2013. Future v...
 
 
Navy photograph

Closing the curtain on NAVAIR’s desert depot

An MV-22 gets ready for takeoff following repair at NAVAIR’s Forward Deployed Combat Repair facility in Afghanistan. The FDCR mission ended in June 2014, and was primarily led by NAVAIR reservists with artisans from Fleet...
 

 
navy-F35

F-35C conducts first detachment visit at NAS Lemoore

Navy photograph Sailors and members of the community had the opportunity to observe an F-35C Lightning II aircraft static display at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., April 14. The static display is part of a six-day visit by ...
 
 
Artists rendering courtesy SikorskyBoeing

Army aviation continues efforts for technology development

Artists rendering courtesy Bell Helicopter The tiltrotor V-280 Valor aircraft is Bell Helicopter’s vision of the future as it prepares for flight demonstrations for the Army in 2017. The Army recently extended technology ...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

Air Force announces KC-46A candidate bases

Courtesy photograph The KC-46A Pegasus development program completed its first flight of Engineering, Manufacturing and Development aircraft #1 Dec. 28, 2014. Air Force officials announced April 14 that Tinker Air Force Base, O...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>