Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Naval Aviators Describe How the F-35’s Brains Will Change Air Warfare

Naval aviators say guiding the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter onto the flight deck of U.S. aircraft carriers is almost like flying a plane that flies itself. The new plane’s software is meant to allow the military to train pilots faster and, in war, fly more sorties against the enemy. Pilots would spend less time throttling and figuring for flight conditions and more time coordinating with other aircraft, working with huge volumes of data, and managing complex missions against ever-more sophisticated adversaries.

“The aircraft does a lot of stuff that, before, I would have to fight the aircraft,” said Marine Maj. Eric Northam with the VX-23 test squadron. The jet’s Delta Flight Path software, created by F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin has changed all that. “If I want to capture the barrier altitude that I’m climbing to … I dial in the altitude; it will climb up and capture it. If I want to capture the heading I can just use the pedals to dial in a new heading. I can keep my hands on the controls where I need to and then redirect the aircraft as required.”

But questions about the software remain. more