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Northrop Grumman Delivers Key Software For First F-35 STOVL Variant

illustration only
by Staff Writers
El Segundo CA (SPX) Aug 15, 2007
Northrop Grumman has delivered to F-35 Lightning II prime contractor 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 company has delivered updates for 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; and 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; and

- 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; and

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

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DARPA Completes Autonomous Airborne Refueling Demonstration
Edwards AFB CA (SPX) Aug 13, 2007
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) completed its Autonomous Airborne Refueling Demonstration program this month, showing that unmanned aircraft can autonomously perform in-flight refueling under operational conditions. These recent flights built on the first-ever fully autonomous refueling, conducted under controlled test conditions last August. Since then, the Autonomous Airborne Refueling Demonstration (AARD) has completed 10 additional flights.







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