According to a recent press release, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II aircraft achieved three major flight test milestones on the same day, proving software testing efforts of the aircraft’s next-level systems have been largely effective to date.
In three separate tests on May 27, the F-35 Lightning II aircraft demonstrated air-to-air combat capability, completed the first flight test with the Block 3i software load and accomplished a landing at the maximum test speed and drop rate. Leaving from Edwards Air Force Base, an F-35A flew a 1.9 hour mission integrated with the first ever load of block 3i hardware and software.
Software testing and development is, and has been, a crucial element to the project’s success. According to a Lockheed Martin page devoted to the F-35 program, “Underpinning the F-35’s unrivaled capabilities is more than 8 million lines of software code – more than four times the amount of the world’s first 5th generation fighter, the F-22 Raptor. From flight controls to fusing together the F-35’s sensor data to form a clear and comprehensive picture of the battle space, software is essential.”
The advanced software aboard the F-35 enables the aircraft’s flight controls, radar functionality, communications, electronic attack, sensor fusion, and weapons deployment. As of March 2014, more than 88% of the F-35’s required software is currently flying effectively and approximately 97% of the required software has been coded.
The flight test milestones that were recently achieved by the F-35 Lightning II offer evidence that tests of the latest high-performance software on board the aircraft have been well-received, furthering air-to-air combat capabilities.
Image credit: www.lockheedmartin.com