Lockheed Martin and a select industry team with support from key government agencies, recently used a series of flight tests at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., to demonstrate how an open systems architecture can enable improved interoperability between next generation and legacy fighter aircraft.
The flight tests concluded a year-long independently funded research and development effort called Project Missouri, which implemented and tested data links using an open systems architecture. The December tests between an F-22 and the F-35 Cooperative Avionics Test Bed were flown to assess the capability to share information – in real time – among varied platforms. The effort demonstrated:
• Ability to transmit and receive Link-16 communications on the F-22
• Software reuse and reduction of the aircraft system integration timelines
• Employing Air Force UCI messaging standards
“We successfully integrated an F-22 with a Rockwell Collins tactical radio for Link 16 transmit and receive capability, and two L-3 Communications devices to support encrypted and secure operations,” said Ron Bessire, vice president of Program and Technology Integration at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works®. “The rapid integration of this equipment enabled secure information sharing between stealth and legacy platforms and improved overall battlespace awareness.”
To reduce integration timelines, the Project Missouri team leveraged open systems architecture tools from the Air Force’s Common Mission Control Center and from the unmanned aerial systems command and control standard initiative to complete hardware and software development in less than seven months, with integration and test taking less than 30 days. This included acquiring safety of flight and airworthiness approval for flight test. The team achieved up to a 60 percent reduction in the development, integration and test timelines.
The project was led by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works® and supported by the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command, F-35 Joint Program Office, F-22 Program Office, Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the USAF 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron along with industry partners L-3 Communications, Harris, Rockwell Collins, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training, Curtiss-Wright, Comtech PST, K&L Microwave and Wind River.