UK DOES NOT have access to F35 source code

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hulahoop7, Nov 24, 2009.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will keep to itself sensitive software code that controls Lockheed Martin Corp ( LMT - news - people )'s new radar-evading F-35 fighter jet despite requests from co-development partners, a senior Pentagon program official said.

    Access to the technology had been publicly sought by Britain, which had threatened to scrub plans to buy as many as 138 F-35s if it were unable to maintain and upgrade its fleet without U.S. involvement.

    No U.S. partner is getting the so-called source code, the key to the plane's electronic brains, Jon Schreiber, who heads the program's international affairs, told Reuters in an interview Monday.

    "That includes everybody," he said, acknowledging this was not entirely popular among core partners -- Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway.

    The single-engine F-35 is in early stages of production. It is designed to escape radar detection and switch quickly between air-to-ground and air-to-air missions while still flying -- processes heavily dependent on its 8 million lines of onboard software code.

    Schreiber said the United States had accommodated all of its partners' requirements, providing ways for them to upgrade projected F-35 purchases even without the keys to the software.

    "Nobody's happy with it completely. but everybody's satisfied and understands," he said of withholding the code from partners and Israel, which also has sought the technology transfer as part of a possible purchase of up to 75 F-35s.


    Instead, the United States plans to set up a "reprogramming facility," probably at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, to further develop F-35-related software and distribute upgrades, Schreiber said.

    Software changes will be integrated there "and new operational flight programs will be disseminated out to everybody who's flying the jet," he said.

    Representatives of the British defense staff in Washington did not return telephone calls seeking comment. Britain has committed $2 billion to develop the F-35, the most of any U.S. partner.

    In March 2006, Paul Drayson, then Britain's minister for defense procurement, told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that Britain might quit the program if the United States withheld such things as the software code.

    The issue rose to the top. In May 2006, then-President George W. Bush and then-Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that both governments had agreed "that the UK will have the ability to successfully operate, upgrade, employ, and maintain the Joint Strike Fighter such that the UK retains operational sovereignty over the aircraft."


    The source code is "kind of the holy grail" for this, controlling everything from weapons integration to radar to flight dynamics, said Joel Johnson of TEAL Group, an aerospace consultancy in Fairfax, Virginia.

    Lockheed Martin said all F-35 partners "recognize the complexity of the highly integrated F-35 software and the program plan to upgrade F-35 capabilities as an operational community."

    "This enables the aircraft to remain at the cutting edge of combat capability while allowing the program to meet affordability objectives," John Kent, a company spokesman, said in an emailed statement.

    Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's No. 1 supplier by sales, projects it will sell up to 4,500 F-35s worldwide to replace its F-16 fighter and 12 other types of warplanes for 11 nations initially.

    The United States eventually plans to spend roughly $300 billion over the next 25 years to buy a total of 2,443 F-35 models, its costliest arms acquisition.
  2. Surely we wouldn't have spent $2 billion without knowing the US were going to keep the monopoly on upgrading the equipment?
  3. BiscuitsAB

    BiscuitsAB LE Moderator

    Re read that and think about it mate.
  4. It's ok... our spies will get it off the Chinese spies in due course... :)
  5. which translates as you want it fixed, changed or serviced - you pay!

    We have a choice... let's buy something else. If not let's put up or shut up.
  6. The point is that the government said we did. They tried, failed and then lied just as our troops were fighting to win 'influence'. UK / USA looks more and more a one way deal.
  7. Sorry, I forgot the irony smily!
  8. No code, no planes; end of.

    Fvckem, the Typhoon is a better fighter than the F-35 will ever be anyways.
  9. Got a job for Gary
  10. Nothing new here...

    I remember Plessy charging the MOD for an annual software update for WAVELL that was required to "reset the clock".....!

    (in other words they put a time bomb in the software to keep them coming back for more....)
  11. Except for that whole not being able to operate off carriers issue. And you can forget about getting a navalised version, no-one else wants it so it would just us getting financially raped by BAE for billions for a program to test out the feasibility of navalising it only to eventually discover it either wouldn't work or be crap and it be cancelled. Which then leaves you with the French Dassault Rafale or American F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as alternatives, and I doubt we'd get the source code for them so we'd still be screwed.

  12. If we ever get the carrier! Sea Typhoon is a non starter but I have no problem with the concept of buying the Rafale M for naval ops, it works, they will give us the code, (It's nothing special in a non Gen 5 plane), and it's reasonably priced. They did offer us 150 of them at a very generous fixed price some years ago as a horse trade for our carrier design.
  13. In March 2006, Paul Drayson, then Britain's minister for defense procurement, told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that Britain might quit the program if the United States withheld such things as the software code.

    Its the Chinook fiasco all over again, do we really not have anyone sensible to negotiate in defence procurement,or are they all as im starting to suspect a bunch of retarded luddites.

    Might quit, Christ you couldn't make it up, only an idiot would buy something that wont work as advertised,the worst thing is the yanks have told us,and we are still sitting at the table, no doubt attempting to have a concrete cannon fitted.
  14. I'm still a bit sceptical of the French giving us the code when that pretty much means giving it over to BAE but if we could get a cast iron guarantee in the contract for it then maybe we should look at doing some trials it versus the F-35. Unfortunately since they're planning on building 4,500 of the things possibly cancelling our order which makes up about 2-3% of that is feck all threat to them.

    Other than the Rafale and Super Hornet are there any other replacement options I'm forgetting about?
  15. Swedish Gripen.....but I don't think it would be in the running.