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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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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.

quote:
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.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_%28programming_la...


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.


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