Victim of software instability, delivery of F-35s will not resume until fall 2024, according to Lockheed-Martin

While 2023 will have been a good year for the F-35 in terms of orders and order intentions, the picture is very different when it comes to the delivery of Lockheed-Martin's stealth fighters.

In fact, the Pentagon suspended delivery of the F-35 at the beginning of the summer until the TR-3 standard, supposed to arrive in July 2023, is validated. However, the American aircraft manufacturer is obviously encountering significant difficulties in stabilizing this software development, raising fears that its fighter is suffering from structural software instability.

Lockheed-Martin's difficulties with the delivery of the F-35 TR-3

Evolution of the information system and interfaces, the TR-3 standard of the F-35 aims to provide the device with increased processing capabilities, through new calculation capacities, more memories, and above all optimization of the software layer. This is precisely where the problem lies today.

delivery of F-35 Lockheed-martin
Victim of software instability, delivery of the F-35 will not resume until fall 2024, according to Lockheed-Martin 4

Indeed, the more than 8 million lines of code, which constitute the heart of the fighter's on-board computer system, appear particularly complex to handle. Thus, in 2021, Raymond O'Toole Jr, the acting director of Operational Tests and Evaluations at the Pentagon, questioned about the difficulties encountered with the future Block 4 standard, indicated that the system was experiencing significant software instability.

At that time, it appeared that each new software evolution of the F-35 arrived with a very large number of problems and failures, leading to an overall instability that was all the more serious because, very often, the correction made generated, itself also, other dysfunctions.

It is precisely this problem that Lockheed-Martin is faced with today, while the TR-3 standard of Block III constitutes the essential step for the future implementation of Block 4, which will provide the fighter with new operational capabilities. , including new precision munitions, improved sensors and increased data fusion to give the pilot a better perception of the environment.

Only 75 to 110 fighters will be delivered in 2024.

Faced with the aircraft manufacturer's inability to deliver, as planned, a stable TR-3 system capable of passing the American armies' admission tests, the Pentagon announced, in July 2023, stopping acceptance of deliveries of American F-35s, until the established technological requirements have been met.

F-35
Victim of software instability, delivery of the F-35 will not resume until fall 2024, according to Lockheed-Martin 5

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