BAE Systems’ next-generation vehicle management computer was successfully flight tested on the F-35 Lighting II aircraft which demonstrated an upgrade intended to increase computer performance and address obsolescence issues.

The test took place at Naval Air Station Patuxent and Edwards Air Force Base in the US, stated BAE Systems in a 6 September release. According to the manufacturer, the Vehicle Management Computer (VMC) enables advanced control modes and improves mission efficiency and safety.

“The VMC provides the high integrity processing required to implement the advanced control algorithms that enable this platform’s critical missions,” said Corin Beck, director of Military Aircraft Systems for Controls and Avionics Solutions at BAE Systems. “This upgrade leveraged BAE Systems’ technology roadmap to ensure the F-35 will advance its mission management and flight control capabilities today and into the future.”

The upgrade incorporates a quad-core advanced processor to improve computational power that will allow for “additional aircraft capabilities” to the VMC such as the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) and Auto Ground Collision Avoidance System (AGCAS).

Working as a partner with F-35 programme leader Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems provides the VMC, electronic warfare system, active inceptor control system, and aft fuselage for each F-35 at manufacturing facilities in the US, UK, and Australia.

F-35 fighter proliferation

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In August this year Lockheed Martin was awarded a $600m contract for the manufacture of 173 Lot 19 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft for international customers.

The F-35 is widely operated across Nato, with the Czech Republic earlier this year confirming itself as the latest country to seeking to acquire the fifth-generation fighter. In the Middle East, Israel has announced that it will acquire a third squadron of Israeli-specific F-35s.

Lockheed Martin states that by 2030, there will be more than 400 F-35 stealth fighters located across Nato member bases, cementing its position as one of the most widely proliferated fighters in the alliance.