Fighter Jet News

F-35 Lightning II News

Software for first F-35B STOVL delivered

August 15, 2007 (by Eric L. Palmer) - Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered to Lockheed Martin, the initial release of software required to perform manufacturing checkout of the first F-35B short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) variant.

The STOVL system on the F-35B utilises a shaft-driven lift fan propulsion system. Here the X-35B can bee seen over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. [LMTAS photo]

The company has delivered updated software modules used to perform three critical functions:
  • Functional test of key sensor subsystems such as radar, electronic warfare, and communication/navigation/IFF.

  • Download of maintenance information from the aircraft.

  • In-flight detection and pilot notification of safety-critical faults.

"The delivery of this initial manufacturing release (IMR) of software for the first F-35 STOVL aircraft continues Northrop Grumman's unbroken, two-year-long streak of on-time software deliveries to the F-35 Lighting II program," said Janis Pamiljans, F-35 program manager for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. "We're doing everything we can to support the F-35 industry team's goal of flying the first STOVL variant in the spring of 2008."

The software delivered to Lockheed Martin includes:
  • Prognostic and Health Monitoring software, which is used to check out the built-in-test features of the sensor hardware and verify that the hardware is operating properly.

  • Maintenance Interface Broker software, which is used by maintenance personnel to download diagnostic information from the aircraft.

  • Mission Domain software, which includes navigation related software; software models for aircraft performance; and the Mission Systems Integrity Monitor, safety-critical software that detects, filters and notifies the pilot of critical in-flight failures.

The initial manufacturing release of software is the second in a five-step F-35 software release process leading to first flight. Between now and spring 2008, Northrop Grumman plans to deliver three more rounds of software updates for the STOVL software modules listed above.

  • Ground test release, which will be used during initial power-up and taxi tests of the F-35B.

  • Flight candidate release, which provides the core of software used during initial flight.

  • Flight test update, which provides any updates or additional software capabilities required for flight testing.

As a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 global industry team, Northrop Grumman plays a critical role in the development and production of the aircraft.