1st USN C Female Pilot & F-35C/Super Hornet Tactics TOPGUN

Production milestones, roll-outs, test flights, service introduction and other milestones.
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neurotech

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Unread post09 May 2017, 22:36

ricnunes wrote:
neurotech wrote:The F-35 is not the first fighter jet to receive significant software updates throughout its service life, although it won't allways be a "software only" update. There is hardware upgrades scheduled for the F-35 (I believe Block 4), and likely will be required before EA capability is added to the ICP & APG-81 radar. Physically upgrading avionics is not usually difficult, especially when done during depot maintenance.


Well to the extend of the F-35 software upgrades, yes it is the "first". For example upgrading from Block 3i to Block 3F is (unless I'm mistaken) software only upgrade! You simply cannot do that in the Super Hornet without at least some Hardware change.
Upgrading the F-35 software is said to be not very different from upgrading our computer/phone/tablet applications. This is a level of software upgrade that the Super Hornet clearly doesn't seem to have.

Regarding to the F-35's Block 4 upgrades, namely the EA capability I haven't read that it will require Hardware upgrades. Actually what I've been reading seems to indicate the opposite (that's basically should be a software upgrade only).
Yes, Block 4 will receive Hardware upgrades but from what I read so far these upgrades seem to be at the sensor level in order to equip the aircraft with better sensors (hardware), one example of this being the "Advanced EOTS" (in order to replace to current EOTS).

Actually, the techs can (and do) update the Super Hornet software without a hardware change. It just depends on which hardware is fitted to the jet, and what procedures and approvals are required. For test aircraft, some updates are specially authorized for the jet. For fleet configured aircraft, If NAVAIR authorize a SCS update for a particular Lot Super Hornet, then its pretty much the same upgrading a PC/phone/tablet. The AMC is actually quite modular. There is a set of boards connected to a backpane, with room for additional boards if required.

The upgrade path for the Super Hornet is not much different to the F-16MLU Block 15 jets. The mission avionics were upgraded to the same specs as the Block 50 jets, and newer OFP "tapes" were loaded without replacing hardware. For non-MLU jets, I'd imagine the update process is very different.

Some of the test SuperBugs had digital Software Defined Radio transceiver boxes and/or pods. They were customized for the mission requirements, just like a smartphone receives baseband software, along with Android updates. The basic transceiver boxes did not need to be replaced, just updated software. The F-35A has similar SDRs in its Communications, Navigation and Identification (CNI) system.

For the Super Hornet test program, to support some missions, we had tablet-like portable PCs in the cockpit, and they were given software updates routinely. And yes, some did run Windows CE, NT etc. and were updated like a Windows PC on a corporate network.

For those who doubt the USN or USAF would run Windows for a critical role, the USAF later updated to Windows XP Predator Edition, for the UAV/UCAV program.
http://science.howstuffworks.com/reaper4.htm
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10 ... one-fleet/
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quicksilver

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Unread post09 May 2017, 22:56

"There is hardware upgrades scheduled for the F-35 (I believe Block 4), and likely will be required before EA capability is added to the ICP & APG-81 radar." -- neuro

We assume you mean 'more' EA capability since there is substantial capability resident in the jets that are flying today.
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ricnunes

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Unread post12 May 2017, 23:20

neurotech wrote:
Actually, the techs can (and do) update the Super Hornet software without a hardware change. It just depends on which hardware is fitted to the jet, and what procedures and approvals are required. For test aircraft, some updates are specially authorized for the jet. For fleet configured aircraft, If NAVAIR authorize a SCS update for a particular Lot Super Hornet, then its pretty much the same upgrading a PC/phone/tablet. The AMC is actually quite modular. There is a set of boards connected to a backpane, with room for additional boards if required.

The upgrade path for the Super Hornet is not much different to the F-16MLU Block 15 jets. The mission avionics were upgraded to the same specs as the Block 50 jets, and newer OFP "tapes" were loaded without replacing hardware. For non-MLU jets, I'd imagine the update process is very different.


Regarding Software there are "updates" and there are "updates". What I mean with this is that it all depends on what you mean with Software update or more precisely what kind or type of Software Update we're talking about.

For example there are Software updates which in the "civilian world" are called "patches" which are meant to fix small problems (commonly known as "bugs") of a Baseline Software and may even include from time to time some minor new features.
Then there are Major Software upgrades which basically overhauls the existing Baseline Software by adding completely new features much akin to for example an Operating System (OS) upgrade (for example updating Windows 8 to Windows 10).

If we're talking about the first case (Software updates to fix bugs/issues and even add some minor new features) then I believe that this can be "easily" done in the Super Hornet without any Hardware upgrade/change and by the way I never said otherwise.
But the problem is when we're talking about Major Software upgrades and in this case then I strongly believe that you cannot do it in the Super Hornet without some Hardware upgrade/change like you can do it in the F-35. For example I doubt that you'll be able to "install" the next major post-H12 software (in the Super Hornet) without any significant Hardware change/upgrade.
Now as opposed to the Super Hornet, I strongly believe that you'll be able to update a Block 3F to Block 4.x in the F-35 without any Hardware change! Of course this doesn't mean that when the Block 3F to Block 4 Software upgrade (in the F-35) happens what there won't be any Hardware upgrades. However such Hardware upgrade won't be done because the Block 4 software install forcedly requires it but it will be done in order to maximize and improve the current F-35 Hardware performance (such as the EOTS update to Advanced EOTS that I mentioned earlier) - Well, this is much akin to what some people do with their Desktop PC/Computers when they decide to perform major Software upgrades (such as the OS or favourite applications/programs for example) in where they also take the chance to upgrade some parts of the Hardware but this is not because the new Major Software upgrade requires the new Hardware upgrade but because the new Major Software upgrade will work better (with the new Hardware upgrade).

Or resuming I never said that:
1- I never said that the Super Hornet software wasn't developed in some "higher" level language such as C/C++
2- I never said that the Super Hornet software couldn't receive (some) software updates without receiving hardware updates/changes.
However what I said was:
1- The F-35 software is far more advanced in functionality and capability compared to the Super Hornet software (or to any other fighter aircraft for that matter). This is not an opinion, it's a verified FACT!
2- The F-35 software is more modular and as such it can receive much bigger or major updates without any Hardware updates this compared to the Super Hornet software (or to any other fighter aircraft for that matter).
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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