SAN DIEGO: Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered the initial flight-ready integrated communications, navigation and identification (CNI) system for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter program. The system has successfully completed safety of flight tests and obtained approval for flying this summer onboard the first mission systems equipped F-35 aircraft.
When fully developed, Northrop Grumman’s integrated CNI system will provide the capability equivalent of more than 40 avionics subsystem functions to F-35 pilots. By using its industry-leading software-defined radio technology, Northrop Grumman’s design enables simultaneous support for dozens of critical functions while greatly reducing size and weight on the advanced fighter.
These functions include Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), automatic acquisition of fly-to points and various voice and data communications such as the Multifunction Advanced Data Link that was approved by the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Requirements Oversight Council for use on all low-observable platforms.
“This will be the first of many integrated CNI avionics systems that will fly on F-35 aircraft,” said Roger Fujii, vice president of Network Communication Systems for Northrop Grumman’s Information Systems sector. “We have been pleased with our system’s performance on the CATBird (Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter Cooperative Avionics Test Bed), and those flight tests give us high confidence in the next-generation communications capabilities we continue to bring to the warfighter.”
The integrated CNI system that was delivered to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has nearly 500,000 lines of software and incorporates the Joint Tactical Radio System software architecture. Delivered capabilities include Ultra High Frequency/Very High Frequency receive and transmit, IFF transponder, radar altimeter, tactical air navigation (TACAN) and system hardware and software diagnostics.
The F-35 is a supersonic, multirole, 5th generation stealth fighter. Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide, will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for nine nations initially, making the Lightning II the most cost-effective fighter program in history.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.