F-35 undergoes first test flight with TR-3 hardware, software upgrades

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Drive on Friday performed the to start with exam flight of an F-35 loaded with a collection of updates recognized as Know-how Refresh 3.

The successful examination flight marks a action towards loading the fighter with enhanced personal computer memory and processing electrical power, and it lays the groundwork for a significant modernization effort regarded as Block 4.

The 461st Flight Test Squadron conducted the 50-moment test flight of the F-35A, which experienced the tail quantity AF-7, at Edwards Air Power Foundation in California, the F-35 Joint Software Office said Tuesday.

Experimental take a look at pilot Maj. Ryan “Bolo” Luersen flew the jet to an altitude of 35,000 feet and at approximately Mach velocity as he verified its airworthiness and technique balance.

Technological innovation Refresh 3 involves computer software and hardware updates for the Lockheed Martin-made F-35 to enhance its displays, memory and laptop processing electric power, which will allow the fighter to retailer and approach additional data as perfectly as run sophisticated software package.

“This is a important achievement for the F-35 application,” said Lt. Gen. Mike Schmidt, the F-35′s program executive officer. “TR-3 is the F-35′s important personal computer processing electronics up grade that will keep on to supply all our pilots with the capability they have to have to be successful in opposition to any adversary.”

In a November 2022 job interview with Protection News, Lockheed Martin’s director of F-35 domestic engagement, Edward Smith, mentioned TR-3 will deliver the “backbone” for Block 4.

Individuals capabilities will incorporate new sensors, the ability to have extra prolonged-array precision weapons, far more highly effective data fusion, elevated interoperability with other platforms, and sophisticated digital warfare abilities, the Pentagon stated. This will improve the F-35′s capacity to place, monitor and engage, as perfectly as survive against, a selection of threats in the air, on the ground and in cyberspace, the Pentagon additional.

The development of TR-3 proved hard and far more high priced than predicted. Final calendar year, the Governing administration Accountability Office mentioned the increased complication of TR-3 drove the expense of the Block 4 modernization effort and hard work up by $330 million in 2021.

The JPO’s assertion acknowledged TR-3′s “technical complexity challenges,” but explained it “is now on-keep track of to supply capability to the U.S. and its allies starting in 2023.”

“Lessons figured out in the execution of the TR-3 software will be utilized across the total Block 4 modernization plan,” the JPO claimed.

The initially F-35s that will appear with TR-3 already mounted will be component of good deal 15, which is now under building. The finalized agreement for tons 15 via 17 was introduced Dec. 30, and Lockheed expects to start off offering good deal 15 fighters in the second 50 percent of 2023.

The improved capabilities of this batch of fighters, together with TR-3, are among several variables raising the fighter’s regular cost.

Extra developmental and operational examination flights will keep on through 2023 to assure fighters loaded with TR-3 are harmless, and the jet’s battle capabilities function.

Lt. Col. Christopher Campbell, commander of the 461st Flight Check Squadron and director of the F-35 Built-in Test Pressure, reported TR-3 will “affect nearly every single plane feature” in the future.

“Today’s party was just the get started of a in depth flight exam marketing campaign that will each verify and improve the security, steadiness and performance of the full F-35 weapon method in this new configuration,” Campbell reported.

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Protection News. He earlier included leadership and staff challenges at Air Pressure Periods, and the Pentagon, specific functions and air warfare at Military services.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to address U.S. Air Force functions.