LM wants F-22 to have common architecture with F-35

LM's F-22



Lockheed Martin is looking at revamping several of the F-22s most critical systems with hardware from the F-35.The initiative would create a common architecture that links upgrades of the radar, electronic warfare suite and communications, navigation and identification (CNI) system to both aircraft.

LM said the concept requires “significant initial investment”, but “could yield some cost savings in the long term”.

Lockheed developed the F-22 about a decade ahead of the F-35. Both aircraft share the company’s “fifth-generation fighter” slogan, but major subsystems are based on different architectures. So improving hardware or software on the F-35 yields no benefit for the F-22, and vice versa.

No decisions have been made, but Lockheed officials at the F-22 factory are asking if that should change, only 16 months before the production line is shut.

“Say, if we want to add something to [the F-22] CNI suite, F-35 could take that wholesale with minimal modifications,” says Jeff Babione, vice-president and deputy general manager of the F-22 programme. “So you’ll see this bouncing back and forth where F-22 develops something for F-35, and F-35 develops something for F-22.”

Another potential example is the integration of the multifunction airborne data link (MADL), a narrowband channel designed to pass data between stealth aircraft such as the F-35, F-22 and the Northrop Grumman B-2A bomber.

The US Congress has criticised the US Air Force over the high cost of integrating MADL on the F-22, even after making a similar heavy investment for the F-35. The USAF has recently withdrawn MADL from the Increment 3.2 upgrade programme for F-22, delaying the start of integration until fiscal year 2014, Babione says

The two options under review are to add 2,000h or 4,000h to the airframe’s service life, Babione says. Lockheed plans to submit its results by end-year.



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