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Function Air superiority fighter
Contractors Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems: F-22 program management, the integrated forebody (nose section) and forward fuselage (including the cockpit and inlets), leading edges of the wings, the fins and stabilators, flaps, ailerons, landing gear and final assembly of the aircraft.
Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems: Center fuselage, stores management, integrated navigation and electronic warfare systems (INEWS), the communications, navigation, and identification (CNI) system, and the weapon support system.
Boeing: wings, aft fuselage (including the structures necessary for engine and nozzle installation), radar system development and testing, avionics integration, the training system, and flight-test development and management.
Major Subcontractors (partial list): Northrop Grumman, Texas Instruments, Kidde-Graviner Ltd., Allied-Signal Aerospace, Hughes Radar Systems, Harris, Fairchild Defense, GEC Avionics, Lockheed Sanders, Kaiser Electronics, Digital Equipment Corp., Rosemount Aerospace, Curtiss-Wright Flight Systems, Dowty Decoto, EDO Corp., Lear Astronics Corp., Parker-Hannifin Corp., Simmonds Precision, Sterer Engineering, TRW, XAR, Motorola, Hamilton Standard, Sanders/GE Joint Venture, Menasco Aerospace.
Lockheed Martin is looking at revamping several of the F-22's most critical systems with hardware from the F-35.
The initiative would create a common architecture that links upgrades of the radar, electronic warfare suite and communications, navigation and identification (CNI) system to both aircraft.
The concept requires "significant initial investment", but "could yield some cost savings in the long term", the manufacturer says.
Lockheed developed the F-22 about a decade ahead of the F-35. Both aircraft share the company's "fifth-generation fighter" slogan, but major subsystems are based on different architectures. So improving hardware or software on the F-35 yields no benefit for the F-22, and vice versa.
No decisions have been made, but Lockheed officials at the F-22 factory are asking if that should change, only 16 months before the production line is shut.
"Say, if we want to add something to [the F-22] CNI suite, F-35 could take that wholesale with minimal modifications," says Jeff Babione, vice-president and deputy general manager of the F-22 programme. "So you'll see this bouncing back and forth where F-22 develops something for F-35, and F-35 develops something for F-22."
Another potential example is the integration of the multifunction airborne data link (MADL), a narrowband channel designed to pass data between stealth aircraft such as the F-35, F-22 and the Northrop Grumman B-2A bomber.
The US Congress has criticised the US Air Force over the high cost of integrating MADL on the F-22, even after making a similar heavy investment for the F-35. The USAF has recently withdrawn MADL from the Increment 3.2 upgrade programme for F-22, delaying the start of integration until fiscal year 2014, Babione says.
But adopting a common architecture with the F-35 could "dramatically reduce" MADL implementation costs on the F-22, Babione says.
Lockheed also is looking for other ways to find "synergies" within the F-22 upgrade programme, which now divides the 150 combat-coded fighters into two categories.
About 63 F-22s are receiving the primarily air-to-ground Increment 3.1 upgrade. This adds the ability to create synthetic maps of the terrain using the Northrop Grumman APG-77 active electronically scanned array radar, plus the ability to drop Boeing's GBU-39 small diameter bomb.
Another 87 F-22s will receive the Increment 3.2 upgrade. This adds Raytheon's AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder and AIM-120D AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. By using software, Lockheed also can add the weapons to the 63 Increment 3.1 aircraft.
Meanwhile, Lockheed is investigating options to extend the service life of each F-22 beyond 8,000 flight hours. USAF officials have asked the company to come up with prices for required structural upgrades.
The two options under review are to add 2,000h or 4,000h to the airframe's service life, Babione says. Lockheed plans to submit its results by end-year.
A Royal Australian Air Force pilot assigned to the 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron has had the opportunity to fly the Air Force's premier fighter, the F-22 Raptor, as part of a foreign pilot exchange program.
The pilot exchange program has been an important part of the military relationship between the U.S. and Australia for many years, according to Squadron Leader Harper, dating back to World War II before the U.S. had entered the war when U.S. aircrews would travel to Europe to join the Royal Air Force and RAAF to fight.
"The purpose of the pilot exchange is to embed experienced exchange aircrews within a squadron, allowing them to become part of the host country's air force for a three-year period," said Squadron Leader Harper. "During this time, the exchange pilot has an opportunity to learn about Air Force procedures, tactics and capabilities and learn about the cultural differences between the two countries and their air forces. Exchange aircrews offer the hosting unit a different perspective than what they are used to."
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