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Software Code Source of Tension for F-35 Sales
Wharton Aerospace ^ | 1/17/2010 | Wharton Aerospace

Posted on 01/27/2010 10:05:30 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld

A dogfight over software is intensifying as the Pentagon reaffirmed that it will not share with partner countries the sensitive code that controls Lockheed Martin's F-35 radar-evading jet fighter, according to an article published by Reuters.

Britain, which funded about $2 billion of the F-35, is among eight countries that co-financed the system. Nonetheless, no country will receive the source code or the vital electronics that control everything from weapons integration to radar to flight dynamics, according to the article.

The jet, known as the Joint Strike Fighter, can switch between air-to-ground and air-to-air missions in mid-flight, thanks to some eight million lines of code. The United States will provide a way for countries to upgrade the software as necessary without revealing the source code, Jon Schreiber, the head of the program's international affairs, told Reuters. "Nobody is happy with it completely, but everybody's satisfied and understands," he said.

Israel, which is interested in buying the fighter, has proposed technology transfer as part of a possible purchase of seven F-35s. But that is unlikely, says Eric K. Clemons, a professor of operations and information management at Wharton. If F-35 software is shipped in its source form, other countries might try to reverse engineer and replicate the capabilities of the F-35 in far more detail than would be possible from observations of the plane in flight. Clemons says they could even try to jam or hack an “enemy” F-35. "While [jamming or hacking it] is unlikely, the first two are near certainties," he said. "Not only will the U.S., but also the UK, have a stronger defense if the software for the F-35 remains unavailable."

(Excerpt) Read more at executiveeducation.wharton.upenn.edu ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Technical
KEYWORDS: aerospace; aerotech; avionics; code; f35; iaf; jointstrikefighter; jsf; pentagon; royalairforce

1 posted on 01/27/2010 10:05:32 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
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To: sonofstrangelove

What do you want to bet President Obortion forces them to give up the code, since he doesn’t think defense is really necessary now that we have him?


2 posted on 01/27/2010 10:09:25 PM PST by TheClintons-STILLAnti-American (ND LE)
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To: sonofstrangelove

I’m not very knowledgeable in how our fighter technology works, so why is the ability to switch from air-air to air-ground and back such a leap forward?

I figured the JSF’s main feature was enhanced stealth and a suite of classified gadgets which I figured were electronic warfare related. Reading this though makes me think there’s a challenge here I’m unaware of.


3 posted on 01/27/2010 10:09:38 PM PST by TheZMan (Just secede and get it over with. No love lost on either side. Cya.)
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To: sonofstrangelove

We will not supply source code for F-16s either.

Israel has already demonstrated that they have reverse engineered that one, and their F-16s have capabilities beyond some of ours.


4 posted on 01/27/2010 10:16:04 PM PST by CurlyDave
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To: CurlyDave

The article does allude to this.


5 posted on 01/27/2010 10:17:11 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Werner Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

why sell any of our weapons system to anyone else... Why beside greed..


6 posted on 01/27/2010 10:18:13 PM PST by gibtx2 (keep up the good work I am out of work but post 20 a month to this out of WF Check)
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To: gibtx2

Your comment unnerves me for some reason. I’m going to think on it before commenting further.


7 posted on 01/27/2010 10:21:13 PM PST by SZonian (I see people everywhere who claim they are victims of "hatred".)
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To: sonofstrangelove

Has this not been a long running problem?
I could have swore they were having issues over F-35 source codes a few years back.


8 posted on 01/27/2010 10:31:10 PM PST by cranked
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To: cranked

It has been a long running problem and will continue if there is a “compromise”


9 posted on 01/27/2010 10:32:12 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Werner Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

AH, I thought so. Thanks.


10 posted on 01/27/2010 10:33:12 PM PST by cranked
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To: gibtx2
why sell any of our weapons system to anyone else... Why beside greed..

There are several very good reasons.

It guarantees interoperability among allies.

It keeps our production line up & running. In a prolonged war this gives us the capability to make up battle losses.

It provides needed foreign exchange, and keeps our balance of trade favorable.

If we did not sell arms to our allies, non-US sources would sell their arms. When we get the sale, our arms industry becomes stronger, and non-US arms makers become weaker.

These are only a few of the many positive reasons for selling weapopns systems.

11 posted on 01/27/2010 10:38:27 PM PST by CurlyDave
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To: gibtx2
why sell any of our weapons system to anyone else

Allie lock-in and preservation of our technical/industrial base to build the next generation of weapons.

12 posted on 01/27/2010 11:08:15 PM PST by glorgau
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To: sonofstrangelove

What an insult to our rock solid reliable allies in Australia especially, and almost as much to the Brits, Scandinavians, Dutch, and Canadians. The Italians and Turks can go hang but the others should not be treated like this if they helped stump up the money to develop it.


13 posted on 01/28/2010 12:49:25 AM PST by ccmay (Too much Law; not enough Order.)
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To: ccmay

I agree


14 posted on 01/28/2010 1:01:17 AM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Werner Von Braun)
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To: glorgau

We wind up face our own weapons .. really stupid... We should not arm the world ... We have more important things to do than build weapons for everyone... or is it the only thing we can still do.. reminds me of the British Empire .. and it demise.


15 posted on 01/28/2010 2:22:22 AM PST by gibtx2 (keep up the good work I am out of work but post 20 a month to this out of WF Check)
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To: CurlyDave

Zero positive to sell to anyone but ourselves.. zero ..


16 posted on 01/28/2010 2:22:59 AM PST by gibtx2 (keep up the good work I am out of work but post 20 a month to this out of WF Check)
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To: ccmay; sonofstrangelove
What an insult to our rock solid reliable allies in Australia especially, and almost as much to the Brits, Scandinavians, Dutch, and Canadians. The Italians and Turks can go hang but the others should not be treated like this if they helped stump up the money to develop it.

It is not an insult ...it is prudence. Reason being that even though an ally like the Aussies wouldn't necessarily overtly sell any crucial information, them having the source code adds another chain whereby loss/sale/espionage can occur. It is not that they don't necessarily trust the Aussies, just that it is illogical to add extra points of failure when the loss of crucial information like source codes could jeopardize missions and lives (not to mention the efficacy of the fighter).

Furthermore, even if the nation of Australia is a strong ally (in my opinion the strongest ally the US has), one of the people with access to the source codes there (were they to be given to them) may not necessarily be as trustworthy as the nation may be on aggregate. The person could be a foreign spy, a citizen who decides to sell the secrets for money, or simply a dunderhead who channels information unwittingly.

Then you have to consider some of the key secrets that have been lost due to allies - for instance the Soviets knowing about some submarine screw design due to the Japanese, and the various 'issues' that have arisen due to flow-through from the Israelis to the Chinese. While Australia hasn't done any such thing, and maybe never would, the sensitivity of certain aspects makes prudence an imperative. If you look at the F35 for instance, it's main advantages are stealth, sensor fusion, and the like. There are airplanes out there (like the SU-35 that is now coming into production, with some proposed variants even having supercruising engines and AESA radar) that can outperform it in terms of kinetics, as well as in the raw power that their radar can exert. Were the makers/users of these craft to get their hands on the advanced sensor fusion and far more honed source codes of a 5th generation aircraft like the F-35, they could be able to come up with something that would be quite lethal to anything that is not a Raptor.

Thus, I am glad that the source codes remain secret. If any of the purchasers require something changed an American specialist can go over and sort them out.

Does that mean the source code will remain forever secret? I doubt it (there were even some reports that some Chinese hackers got 'something,' but we'll never know what). Furthermore, there are many Americans who have turned traitor. Thus, we may very well see JSF source codes falling into Russian or Chinese (or British or Israeli) hands. However, just because that can happen doesn't mean it is kosher to go ahead and add ADDITIONAL possible points of failure.

17 posted on 01/28/2010 4:22:07 AM PST by spetznaz (Nuclear-tipped Ballistic Missiles: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol)
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To: gibtx2

You are a glutton for punishment.


18 posted on 01/28/2010 5:08:33 AM PST by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: CurlyDave

We will not supply source code for F-16s either.

Israel has already demonstrated that they have reverse engineered that one, and their F-16s have capabilities beyond some of ours.
_______________________________

We should outsource the source code to the Israelis since they are so much better at this. They have tons of genius level Russian Jewish computer engineers there that immigrated in the last 20 years


19 posted on 01/28/2010 7:08:25 AM PST by dennisw (It all comes 'round again --Fairport)
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To: gibtx2
why sell any of our weapons system to anyone else... Why beside greed..

Greed may be involved, but it reduces the cost significantly to our armed forces.

20 posted on 01/28/2010 12:19:28 PM PST by itsahoot (Each generation takes to excess, what the previous generation accepted in moderation.)
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To: itsahoot

we have over 5000 jets for our military the air force is the best on the planet there is no credible threat for anything we have flying now..

the f-35 program are over weight, cost , schedule, and we could cancel them and build what we already have and still have air dominance for the forceable future.

what is the specific threat... there is not one


21 posted on 01/28/2010 2:45:31 PM PST by gibtx2 (keep up the good work I am out of work but post 20 a month to this out of WF Check)
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To: CurlyDave

Israel just replaces the sensitive items with its own
IAI, Elbit, Elta, etc, gear. They have their own operational needs/mission profiles which our stuff is not optimized for. AH 64 is another example. They maintain
a SIL at Boeing to assure that their systems interoperate with the rest of the platform, and knowing what goes on in there is subject to Israel MoD security clearance.


22 posted on 01/28/2010 5:32:43 PM PST by rahbert
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To: gibtx2
Russia Reveals New Secret Fighter
23 posted on 01/30/2010 7:30:21 AM PST by itsahoot (Each generation takes to excess, what the previous generation accepted in moderation.)
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