Who owns the F-35 technology?

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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avxva

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Unread post30 Mar 2012, 02:02

Who owns the technology that goes into the F-35? Who owns the computer codes, the various systems i.e.: the helmet technology, the sensors, radar, computers, FCS's, and stealth stuff?

If the F-35 was cancelled, would it be necessary to 'start from scratch' with all of these systems or could the US government hand all of it to Boeing or Boeing, Northrop and Grumman and say, "UF this stuff and then put all these systems into three different airframes?"

Al
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post30 Mar 2012, 02:24

The US Government owns it. This was demonstrated when the F136 was canceled and the USG got all the test engines.
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Unread post30 Mar 2012, 03:06

That happens occasionally. The US is not happy with a supplier or contractor and says, 'Pack up all the stuff for program X and deliver it to such and such.' There's usually a detailed review and accounting as well. It's not pretty.
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avxva

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Unread post30 Mar 2012, 03:51

Okay, next question. Could some of the "best stuff" that's in the F-35 be transferred directly to another program, specifically the F-22? The F-22 airframe is a known quantity. Would the F-22 airframe benefit from all/some of the advanced technology that's in the F-35? The idea would be to restart the F-22 line / program and update / upgrade it with the best stuff coming out of the F-35 program.

Would an F-22 that was upgraded with F-35 systems make a good strike fighter? Could the existing F-22 airframe be 'navalized' in less time and for less cost than working out all the wrinkles in the F-35C?

Al
Last edited by avxva on 30 Mar 2012, 04:14, edited 1 time in total.
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darkvarkguy

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Unread post30 Mar 2012, 04:12

There are Defence Contract laws that also state a company is required to share certain technology with the very company competing with them. This has been the case with GE and Pratt & Whitney engine development over the years.
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stobiewan

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Unread post30 Mar 2012, 08:25

avxva wrote:Would an F-22 that was upgraded with F-35 systems make a good strike fighter? Could the existing F-22 airframe be 'navalized' in less time and for less cost than working out all the wrinkles in the F-35C?

Al


God no...

Even to restart F22 production would be an undertaking as some of the electronics are no longer available in production quantities.

F35C is pretty much *there* in terms of working off a carrier - the stuff that needs to be fixed is very doable - and F22 isn't a great match for a carrier deck. When discussing navalising the F22 I believe there was talk about converting it to swing wing - I'm not sure if that was absolutely necessary but F22 is quite a bit heavier and larger than F35 for sure.
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mave

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Unread post30 Mar 2012, 17:27

SpudmanWP wrote:The US Government owns it. This was demonstrated when the F136 was canceled and the USG got all the test engines.


Not strictly true. The Government may own the hardware assets, but it doesn't necessarily own the underlying technology; only the application of that technology.
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m

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Unread post30 Mar 2012, 22:32

mave wrote:
Not strictly true. The Government may own the hardware assets, but it doesn't necessarily own the underlying technology; only the application of that technology.


Suppose you’re right concerning under lying technology. Aircraft industry and design has become an international business nowadays. Some countries do have specific knowledge.

Even in a Rafale US knowledge has been used. Not that sure of, but was mentioned in a article.
A Gripen, for some 30 or 40 % specifically Swedish.
Remarkably, even a country as Belgium, not a level partner, the company Barco has been selected as supplier for the F35.

As for instance, a lower weight (nose) gear developed in Europe, intended for the F16 (as far as I know), it would be strange such a company could be banned to use and develop this technology further for the aviation market (including civil aircraft industry).

Although I suppose there are specific arrangements - both ways - when and to which country new developments are allowed to export this technology.

For instance selling a F16, by a operating country, to another country, some equipment, or software, has to be removed. Without approval of the US such a deal is not possible.
Suppose when a F16 is equipped with also specific foreign equipment this is the same case and needs approval as well by some countries.
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hb_pencil

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Unread post31 Mar 2012, 00:44

Okay, the F-35 is somewhat different from other programs in IP regards because its a multinational project. As stated in the MOU:

In the event that a Contractor owns title (or
elects to retain title) to any Project Invention,
the Contracting Participant will secure for the
other Participants non-exclusive, irrevocable,
royalty-free licenses under all Patents secured for
that invention, to practice or have practiced the
patented Project Invention throughout the world for
JSF Purposes.


So contractors may keep their IP. However they can't restrict its use in regards to the F-35's development. So if the JFPO was to decide it wanted to upgrade its avionics system and chose another vendor, LM must provide the information in order facilitate that (that's a very extreme case and unlikely to happen, its costly to qualify a second company to undertake programming.) Now this does not mean that the IP can be used for something outside the JSF project's scope. It clearly says that it must be part of it, which is what the JSFMOU is about. That right remains with the IP owner, whether it be a contractor or government.

As to your specific technology area questions:

Computer coding: Lockheed martin and its subcontractors like Green Hills.
Avionics: Probably LM, but there are likely to be thousands of individual parts in it.
Helmet Technology: VSI and BAE systems.
Sensors: Hughes
Radar: Northrop Grumman
Stealth stuff: LM: http://www.google.com/patents?id=E0jYAA ... &q&f=false



However as I've said elsewhere, the cost of basic technology development isn't a problem. The firms that are part of the world wide JSF Partnership are all world leaders in their areas and fund much of their R&D In house. For example in Canada Heroux Devtek has been undertaking aero-structures research for over 70 years and will continue to do so. Really its the cost of technology integration. In some cases you can transfer larger integrated items between aircraft. In some cases (often in programming) its easier to start with a clean sheet... though cost savings can be realized. It really depends.
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Unread post01 Apr 2012, 06:00

avxva wrote:Could some of the "best stuff" that's in the F-35 be transferred directly to another program, specifically the F-22?... Would the F-22 airframe benefit from all/some of the advanced technology that's in the F-35?
Major imports from F-35 that might happen include at least one set of sensors (I forget whether infra-red or electro-optical but I expect the latter), the more corrosion-resistant "gap filler", and the lower-maintenance skin, but not F-35's data processing/analysis or pilot interface.

avxva wrote:The idea would be to restart the F-22 line
That won't happen just for this. The ones that are already built can be upgraded, but the production line isn't going to be restarted without some serious and somehow important changes to the plane's overall design.

avxva wrote:Would an F-22 that was upgraded with F-35 systems make a good strike fighter?
Compared to anything without stealth, probably, but compared to F-35, not really. Its internal bays are more restrictive about what weapons you can put in there, its limited quantity means it couldn't contribute as much firepower to a serious strike campaign, its size and twin engines mean it would demand more fuel for the same work, and its gun is weaker.

avxva wrote:Could the existing F-22 airframe be 'navalized' in less time and for less cost than working out all the wrinkles in the F-35C?
No. To compare with cars, that would be like modifying a fixed-roofed car into a convertible for less time & money than it takes to change the shape of its rear-view mirrors.
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Unread post01 Apr 2012, 13:36

I'd bet JPO or US Gov owns the codes, but individual systems and components would likely be jointly owned by the manufacturer and US Gov who has heavily funded it's R&D. A specific system such as EODAS could likely be repackaged in derivative form by Northrop Grumman eg and authorized by US Gov for installation in other platforms. As far as LM repackaging EOTS in derivative form and integrated into other platforms, it could probably be done, but it would probably be an even better option to wait for the next-gen Sniper SE pod to come out in a few years and custom fit that system to another platform too.

With respect to the F-22 in general, it would arguably be a good candidate for a specialized helmet similar to how the one specifically developed for the EF Typhoon was done and I'd personally envision the Sniper SE pod being integrated in a low RCS pod (maybe by the same manufacturer which constructed the F-35's gun pod), for possible underneath installation somehow, perhaps on a centerline station where the current radar reflector device is attached (if not disrupting center of gravity too much)?
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Unread post01 Apr 2012, 13:42

mave wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:The US Government owns it. This was demonstrated when the F136 was canceled and the USG got all the test engines.


Not strictly true. The Government may own the hardware assets, but it doesn't necessarily own the underlying technology; only the application of that technology.


If they paid for the underlying tech. they own it all. If not then not. I seem to recall the latter playing a part in the A-12 debacle. GD and McDonnell were trying to build a stealth aircraft but Lockheed and Northrop had all the know how.
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velocityvector

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Unread post01 Apr 2012, 20:22

Code is an interesting animal. The primary means of owning code under law are trade secrecy, which is largely contractual and practical in nature, and copyright. By statute, the USG does not own copyright in works that government employees create, and this includes military and national labs. However, USG can own copyright in works assigned by a written instrument that transfers title to the government. Patents are a relatively indirect means of protecting code and lesser in usefulness. While USG has soverign authority to seize and control code upon giving fair compensation, and it can apply the security/export laws for additional leverage, code ownership is typically a creature of contracts and these can vary quite a bit depending on the circumstances. Consider that in many other nations, including F-35 partner nations, code enjoys limited or no protection under law, and I'm thankful not to be a USG lawyer or contract administrator with the program.
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Unread post02 Apr 2012, 01:48

Simply stated, any hardware that was built on a USG contract is owned by the USG. And code that was 100% paid for by the USG is USG property. Problem with this is that is if any of the code was developed on company nickel, then the USG can't do anything with that code (because part of it is proprietary). I ran afoul of that at the Viper SPO. We wanted to put real HUD code in simulators, but part of that code was developed by LMTAS and was therefore proprietary so we could only do so if we paid LMTAS a truck load of $$...it was cheaper to pay for new code (less efficient, but it was only for a trainer so...
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avxva

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Unread post02 Apr 2012, 03:49

Conceptually, is the F-35 a progression, a continuation, of pre-existing technology (systems development) or does it represent a radical departure and a new approach to stealth and FCS technology? How much did the F-117, B-2 and F-22 (and everything that came before) contribute to the the F-35?

If every system except for the helmet / visor in the F-35 has a technological lineage that goes back decades AND if the US Gov. owns all the various lineages, that means LM (and their subcontractors) have access to everything.

And if that's all true, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? Everybody is acting like LM is "going where no man has gone before" when in truth the government has a couple of 3-story libraries full of information and data on how to design and place a tailhook.

Quite simply: Did the US Gov. choose the wrong contractor? And if LM is the "right" contractor, what are the chances that the F-35 DESIGN is too complex to be actually produced at a realistic price?

On the other hand, if the argument is that, "LM truely is having to go where no man has gone before," why didn't the US Gov bring EVERYBODY onboard from the beginning, LM, Boeing, Northrop Gumman and everyone else, to make sure that such a HUGE undertaking went smoothly??

Al
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