New Brain for the Raptor? Plug and Play Technology on the Cards

The F-22 Raptor is in need of a system upgrade which allows it to incorporate other technologies in the future – U.S. Air Force says. Service officials hope to make it much cheaper and easier to provide modifications to the F-22 in the future, including the option of cross-integration with technology already developed for the F-35.

The fact is that the next-generation fighter has a very highly integrated avionics system already, but one that is closely knit and proprietary. This has created a monopolized structure where most improvements would be reliant on the aircraft’s design companies, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The F-22 SPO (System Program Office) would like to see an Open System Architecture employed, and are willing to contract another company to do so.

“We are highly reliant upon Lockheed Martin and Boeing to do any kinds of modifications to the Jet” says David Weber, Deputy Director of the F-22 SPO. “The open-architecture effort is meant to allow the Air Force to open upgrade work to competition”.  Weber goes on to state that Boeing and Lockheed would be welcome to bid on the demonstration contracts in the future, and that this is one of several alternative directions for the programme.

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