F-35 Lightning II Technology Refresh 3

f-35 lightning ii technology refresh 3
f-35 lightning II
The Technology Refresh 3 program for fifth-generation stealth fighters will include upgrades to the jet's core processor and memory as well as a replacement for the Panoramic Cockpit View.

Introduced in the 1950s, the B-52 Stratofortress remains operational thanks to a number of upgrades it has received over the years. In fact, since it was introduced before the age of advanced computers, the B-52 is much easier to upgrade than more modern aircraft.

In contrast, the highly advanced F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, developed with the latest and greatest aviation computer systems and software, ran into a myriad of problems, while upgrading was extremely difficult.

Since its introduction, the F-35's ground-based ALIS logistics system, intended to streamline reporting and implement predictive maintenance, has remained problematic for many years to the point of "dysfunctionality". Manual input and constant solution are required when the automated system fails to perform its function.

The problem with software is so big that earlier this year, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) warned that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, despite producing more aircraft and at lower prices in 2019, was not meeting standards.

The good news is that the next F-35 technology upgrade could solve a lot of issues, but the bad news is, it could also add to more costs, as Ars Technica reported this week.

The Technology Refresh 3 program for fifth-generation stealth fighters will include upgrades to the jet's core processor and memory as well as a replacement for the Panoramic Cockpit View. Other "fixes" will include a radar upgrade along with some hardware adjustments to the hardware for weapons handling.
f-35 lightning ii technology refresh 3
f-35 lightning II
As reported, most of the upcoming updates will be in software, but that also continues to be a drawback to the F-35 program, in part because updates have been delayed and often result in new problems, including software conflicts that need to be resolved.

Intelligence Aerospace also reported that the Pentagon's goal of updating the fighter's software every six months through the Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2) program was also unable to keep up with new capability upgrades as planned.

One serious problem is that software changes, which are meant to introduce new capabilities or to correct flaws, are actually prone to creating stability issues and even adversely affecting other functionality.

If the new Technology Refresh 3 works according to plan, it could provide new capabilities for advanced stealth fighters. The software upgrade is mission-focused, and it includes new software intended to enhance the aircraft's electronic warfare capabilities and also enable the F-35 to expand its weapon loading options, enhancing its electronic warfare capabilities, while software upgrades should also increase safety for pilots.

If Technology Refresh 3 went according to plan, it could solve some of the F-35's bigger problems. However, that won't solve all the problems, especially the F-35's Automated Logistics Continuity System (ALIS), which is also reportedly a source of frustration at the Department of Defense (DoD).
f-35 lightning ii technology refresh 3
f-35 lightning II technology refresh 3
The F-35 also has its own software problems, Ars Technica reports, and an even worse problem caused by errors in the digital log (Electronic Equipment Log) has resulted in the shipment of parts not ready to install, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs. .

Lockheed Martin is also reportedly working on improvements to ALIS, but the Department of Defense is now working to replace the system completely with a cloud-based, co-developed system, called the Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN). However, GAO has expressed concern over ODIN, citing a lack of clarity about the objectives of the combatants' logical system redesign.

While the F-35 is still a very sophisticated fighter, there are times when upgrading an old "war bird" like the B-52 is much easier than troubleshooting what is supposed to be a perfect fighter.


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