We at Avionics are always in search of aircraft communications, navigation and surveillance (CNS) capabilities that have never been done before. What’s on the brink? What technologies are on the verge of entering service across business, commercial and military airframes? What is going to technologically disrupt the current CNS status quo on the 787s, A350s, G500s and F-35s of the world?
Efforts to answer these questions have lead to three central concepts in our coverage: artificial intelligence, machine learning and sophisticated aircraft data capturing, and analysis. Integrating these concepts onto legacy, in-production and future airframes is much more challenging and expensive to achieve in the air than it is on the ground, and perhaps that’s why the aircraft on the cover of this issue have taken what seems like forever to enter service and received more criticism arguably than any other airframe that’s ever been developed.
The $325 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program’s footprint is so large that by itself it would equate to the world’s 50th wealthiest country by gross domestic product — comparable to Greece or the Czech Republic, as we detail in our cover story. An F-35A, the conventional-takeoff-and-landing variant of the fifth-generation fighter jet, costs about $89 million. The helmet used by F-35 pilots costs $400,000 alone.
As you will see in our article breaking down the current and future planned upgrades for the jet and its 9.1 million lines of software code, it’s finally establishing its presence as the most advanced fighter jet in the history of military aviation.
Elsewhere, Charlotte Adams shows how several major aerospace and defense OEMs are working with the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) to integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning into airborne electronic warfare.
Our special guest columnist presents his conceptual analysis on how avionics computers could be taken from the shelf and configure themselves after being installed.
Finally, we take a look at how aircraft data analytics platforms are driving operational efficiency improvements for commercial passenger and cargo airlines. AVS