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.


 
 

 

Headlines April 17, 2015

News: Army extends benefits to Hood shooting victims - The Army will provide “all possible benefits” to victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting who recently were awarded the Purple Heart, the service announced April 16.   Business: Rolls-Royce lands biggest deal in its 109-year history - U.K. engineering company Rolls-Royce has won the largest order in...
 
 

News Briefs April 17, 2015

Army orders financial benefits for 2009 Fort Hood victims Dozens of soldiers and surviving family members of the 2009 Fort Hood, Texas, shooting are receiving additional Army pay that they felt was long overdue. The announcement from Army Sec. John McHugh April 16 comes a week after 36 Purple Hearts were awarded to victims and...
 
 
NASA illustration

NASA awards radiation challenge winners, launches next round

NASA illustration This illustration depicts our heliosphere, showing the approximate locations of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft. Galactic cosmic rays originate outside the heliosphere and stream in uniformly from all direc...
 

 

U.S. Air Force completes operational testing on Raytheon’s MALD-J

Raytheon and the U.S. Air Force successfully completed operational tests of Miniature Air Launched Decoy-Jammer, satisfying all requirements to attain Initial Operational Capability. “MALD-J’s unique capabilities have been proven in 42 successful flight tests during the last two years and brought us closer to full rate production,” said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Raytheon...
 
 

Northrop Grumman to expand North Dakota presence

In partnership with local leadership, Northrop Grumman confirmed its dedication to the future of unmanned systems development in the Red River Valley region by signing a lease agreement to anchor the new Grand Sky Technology Park in Grand Forks County. Northrop Grumman is working to identify specialized opportunities for the Grand Sky facility. The opportunities,...
 
 

Raytheon awarded more than $2 billion for an International Patriot system

Raytheon announced April 17 it has been awarded a contract worth over $2.0 billion to deliver the combat-proven Patriot Air and Missile Defense System to an undisclosed international customer. The contract, awarded April 2, 2015, and booked in the second quarter as a direct commercial sale, includes fully digitized new-production Patriot fire units with the...
 




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>