F-35 Chief: Software Bugs No Longer A Threat To IOC

Defense News // April 26, 2016

The software bugs that have plagued the F-35 program for months are largely resolved and no longer pose a threat to the Air Force’s goal of declaring its jets operational this year, according to the program chief.

The problem lies with the next increment of software, Block 3i, which the Air Force requires to declare initial operational capability. For F-35s using the original 3i software, the jets’ systems would shut down about once every three or four hours and have to be rebooted. This “choking” effect is caused in essence by a timing misalignment of the software of the plane’s sensors and the software of its main computers.

The joint program office and F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin identified the root cause, incorporated a fix, and have nearly finished flight tests of an updated software load, JPO chief Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan told reporters on Tuesday.

The team has flown 44 flights and 96 hours with the new software, and is now seeing a huge improvement in stability Bogdan said after an April 26 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The jets can fly for about 15 hours between shutdown events, he said, which is more than the eight to ten hours of stability the program office deemed “good enough.”

All of the testing of the improved 3i software will be finished by the end of the week, Bogdan said.

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