The F-35 Cooperative Avionics Test Bed, or CATB, aircraft, was part of a test program establishing the value of open systems architecture. ()
Lockheed Martin flight tests have demonstrated how open system architecture can link legacy and advanced aircraft.
The tests last December, conducted at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., capped a year-long effort called Project Missouri. An F-22 and an F-35 Cooperative Avionics Test Bed were flown to assess the prospects for real-time data sharing among older and newer platforms, according to a Lockheed Martin announcement.
The tests showed that it is possible to transmit and receive Link-16 communications on the F-22, to reuse software and speed up aircraft integration, and to employ Air Force Unmanned Aerial Systems Command and Control Standard Initiative (UCI) messaging standards.
“The rapid integration of this equipment enabled secure information sharing between stealth and legacy platforms and improved overall battlespace awareness,” said Ron Bessire, vice president of program and technology integration at Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works.
Project Missouri speeded up integration by using open systems architecture tools from the Air Force’s Common Mission Control Center and from UCI standards. This enabled "complete hardware and software development in less than seven months, with integration and test taking less than 30 days," Lockheed said. "This included acquiring safety of flight and airworthiness approval for flight test. The team achieved up to a 60 percent reduction in the development, integration and test timelines."
Lockheed's Skunk Works led the program, with the support of Air Combat Command, F-35 Joint Program Office, F-22 Program Office, Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the USAF 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron.