May 7, 2002 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - The F-22 Raptor industry team marked a milestone last week, as the newest version of the program's advanced integrated avionics software package - Block 3.1 - was successfully flown for the first time at the Air Force's Combined Test Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
The F/A-22 Raptor is the replacement for the F-15 Eagle. The Raptor is the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world, combining a revolutionary leap in technology and capability with reduced support requirements and maintenance costs. The F/A-22's integrated avionics gives it first-look, first-shot, first-kill capability that guarantees U.S. air dominance for decades. With the addition of Raptor tail number 0015 to the base, the number of F/A-22s at Nellis AFB increases to four. [U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald]
Block 3.1's 2.7-hour first flight, which occurred on April 25, was flown on Raptor 06, the sixth test aircraft built.
"The Block 3.1 software supplies more than 90 percent of the total functionality planned for the F-22's integrated avionics, including increased radar, electronic warfare and communication, navigation and identification capabilities, as well as an additional global positioning system capability," said Bob Rearden, Lockheed Martin F-22 vice president and general manager. "With this software, we are now ready to finish accomplishing all of the flight-test program's remaining objectives."
The F-22's advanced integrated avionics suite allows the pilot to operate in battle conditions without the burden of managing individual sensors, which dramatically improves the pilot's situational awareness and enhances the performance of both aviator and aircraft. The aircraft's integrated avionics is comprised of hardware and software produced by F-22 team members Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other key suppliers. Northrop Grumman and Raytheon build the aircraft's multimode APG-77 radar as a joint venture.
F-22 Raptor prime contractor Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. is responsible for the successful development and initial testing of the aircraft's advanced integrated avionics suite at both its Marietta, Ga., and Fort Worth, Texas, facilities. F-22 team partner Boeing is responsible for final integration, testing and software delivery of the F-22's advanced avionics.