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F-22 upgrade is over budget and behind schedule

F-35 operating costs will reach $1T
Officials think management will get the operating costs of the F-35 down

Any time the USAF or other branches of the armed service need a replacement for an aging aircraft, the cost of the development and maintenance are a huge budgetary issue for the military and lawmakers in Washington. Two of the most expensive weapons programs in the last several decades have been the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II.

The F-22 is due for an incremental upgrade to its hardware and software that some officials say is already behind on delivery and over its cost projections. The update in question is called Increment 3.2.

Air Force procurement Chief David Van Buren told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, "The Increment 3.2 that we're currently working on for the F-22 for our war-fighting customer is taking too long to implement. We are working with the company [Lockheed Martin] to try to speed that up and make it more affordable."

The cause of the delay in delivery stems from the programming language used called Ada. The Ada language was once a DoD standard, but the use of the language has waned in the last 15 years. Analyst Loren Thompson from the Lexington Institute said, "It tends to impede quick upgrades to the system to which it is the base software." Thompson also said, "The affordability of any upgrade becomes debatable when you purchase a relatively small number of upgrades."

The new upgrade is being applied to the 187 Raptors built by Lockheed, two of which have been lost to accidents. The upgrade will allow the F-22 to carry the AIM-9x infrared-guided air-to-air missile and the AIM 120D medium-range Air-to-Air missile and attack up to eight different targets with the 250-pound Small Diameter Bombs. Lockheed is looking for ways to reduce the cost of the upgrade right now.

The F-35 program is also again the center of focus on costs. This time lawmakers and military commanders are looking at the long-term costs of maintaining and operating the F-35 fleet. The Pentagon has estimated that the cost to operate the F-35 fighters through 2065 will be more than $1 trillion.

Procurement Chief Ashton Carter said, "Over the lifetime of this program, the decade or so, the per-aircraft cost of the 2,443 aircraft has doubled in real terms. That's what it's going to cost if we keep doing what we're doing. That's unacceptable. That's unaffordable."

However, he noted that the massive $1 trillion number can’t be taken at face value because management steps over the life of the aircraft will bring costs down. Carter said, "I truly believe that we can manage out a substantial number of the production and sustainment costs."

There has been technology sharing between the F-22 and the F-35 with some stealth coatings developed for the F-35 being applied to the older F-22 aircraft. The F-35 fleet was grounded in March when an in-flight failure of the generator aboard a test aircraft occurred.

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By Flunk on 5/20/2011 11:55:34 AM , Rating: 1
Ada? I didn't know anyone ever used that for anything. I can see why they'd have production problems. They can't find anyone who's ever seem Ada at all.

I only know of it from a history of programming course I took in College. They really need to contemporize their software of they will always be playing catchup.

RE: Ada
By ebakke on 5/20/2011 12:13:15 PM , Rating: 2
Ada's mostly used in the defense industry. So if you haven't worked there, and the people you asked about Ada haven't, that makes sense.

They really need to contemporize their software of they will always be playing catchup.
That's part of it, sure. But you have to take into account two other things. First, Lockheed's customer is incredibly risk-averse. Completely rewriting a software package in another language/architecture is a big undertaking and carries with it a lot of risk. The DoD wants small changes to things they already know work (or bugs they already know and can work around).

And second, they need to contemporize their workforce. Taking a 20 year Ada developer and plopping them into Java, .NET, ... well really anything other than Ada is an absolute disaster.

RE: Ada
By Strunf on 5/20/2011 12:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
I live in Switzerland and Ada was up to 3 years ago a big part of the IT engineering courses, it was replaced after by Java (I think). I remembered asking why we had Ada and the answer was pretty convincing, completely forgot why though.

RE: Ada
By Solandri on 5/20/2011 2:51:09 PM , Rating: 2
Ada has a lot of built-in coding standards and compile-time checks to help avoid bugs which could slip through other languages. Consequently, it makes it a strong language for programming embedded and mission-critical systems.

RE: Ada
By erikejw on 5/22/2011 7:29:42 PM , Rating: 2
ADA is a realtime language.
When you do something like take off from a Carrier it is
quite important that when you send a command it will not only
get executed some time in the future but with a guarantee of some minimal time delay.

When you increase thrust and raise the nose you'd depend on it for survival, you'd be unhappy or dead if it gets compromised due to some OS thread whatever is before in line to execute and gets priority.

If you break with your SUV you want it to happen right away and not in a distant future. 100% guarantee of that it happens sometime is not enough.

That is one major reason why they use ADA.
There are plenty of others.

From Wiki, short version.

"Ada is a structured, statically typed, imperative, wide-spectrum, and object-oriented high-level computer programming language, extended from Pascal and other languages. It has strong built-in language support for explicit concurrency, offering tasks, synchronous message passing (via guarded task entries), protected objects (a monitor-like construct with additional guards as in conditional critical regions) and nondeterminism (via select statements)."

"Ada is strongly typed and compilers are validated for reliability in mission-critical applications, such as avionics software."

RE: Ada
By Justin Time on 5/23/2011 5:04:46 AM , Rating: 2
Languages are not "real-time" or otherwise.

ADA supports synchronous messaging, which makes it a useful language for real-time computing projects, but a language of itself is not a definition of that.

RE: Ada
By EmbeddedSwEng on 5/23/2011 7:15:57 AM , Rating: 2
I think the poster used a loose wording but there is more to Ada's support for real time systems than synchronous messaging, e.g. a portable real-time (rate monotonic) clock, portable interrupt support, etc.

It is a 'multi-paradigm' language with built-in support for real-time applications.

RE: Ada
By rcc on 5/20/2011 1:31:32 PM , Rating: 2
If an elephant is a MIL-SPEC mouse


ADA is a MIL-SPEC programming language.

Companies spend a lot of time arguing and finding ways out of using ADA in the 80's and 90's. Unfortunately, on a new aircraft program (at the time), it's hard to tout "modification to existing code" as a reason to not have to use ADA.

RE: Ada
By nafhan on 5/20/2011 4:08:43 PM , Rating: 2
It's a language that was built with real time systems in mind, and that's where it generally gets used... The 787 and A380 for instance both use Ada.

Here's an extensive list of some of the places Ada is used:

RE: Ada
By FITCamaro on 5/20/11, Rating: 0
RE: Ada
By ZmaxDP on 5/20/2011 6:02:16 PM , Rating: 1
I second that, and add: Christ, I hope your an atheist. Otherwise, you're hypocritical!
Given, I am presuming that God never visited you in person...)

RE: Ada
By ZmaxDP on 5/20/11, Rating: 0
RE: Ada
By Jedi2155 on 5/21/2011 5:34:38 AM , Rating: 2
There are a number of modern languages that are still based on the constructs of Ada. VHDL is an example of a more common language was highly influenced by Ada.

As I live in an area where defense probably employs 1/4 to 1/2 of the engineers around, I heard Ada referenced everywhere from my community college instructors to the university level. Based on the length of typical defense projects I don't see it dying anytime soon.

RE: Ada
By JW.C on 5/21/2011 5:56:57 PM , Rating: 1
Which is a shame, because it really does need to die a very quick death. Using ADA these days is sort of like using quick basic. Yes you can get the job done, but you feel like hiding from your friends afterwards.

RE: Ada
By alexisfar on 5/21/2011 7:39:00 PM , Rating: 4
Ok, you are a completely ignorant. Please, don´t comment on topics that you don´t know.
Ada is much better language for critical and embedded systems than Java, .NET, C/C++ or any other mainstream programming language. Also, the cost of this kind of software is not because the programming language (any good engineer can learn any language in a couple of weeks), the cost is because the required quality that this kind of software needs to achieve. So, even if you use Java (that is crap for this kind of software) you will end with the same or higher costs, and probably you will end with more bugs. Please, make you a favor and don´t comment about something that you know nothing, you looks like idiot.

RE: Ada
By EmbeddedSwEng on 5/22/2011 1:36:29 PM , Rating: 2
Have you seen any COBOL recently? No? Weird, coz half the world s/w is written in it...

I've been working as a s/w engineer in Aerospace for 20+ years and can guarantee you that Ada is not the problem - indeed if more programs were written in it, I'm sure there would be a lot less BSODs, viruses, etc.

To make _any_ change in aerospace s/w takes hours - even something as simple as changing a single constant will require the code the be checked out, changed, compiled, test harnesses (note plural!) build and run, test results verified, code checked back in, integration tests re-run, system tests re-run, formal builds retrieved from configuration control and built witnessed by SQA...

Well, I hope you get the idea - the time to change SLOC is tiny in this business. It's _everything_ else that has to happen too that takes the time.

No programming language will change that. In this environment, I'm not even sure I'd what all this changed!

"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken
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