The US Air Force has selected Lockheed Martin for a software upgrade that will provide improved pilot-vehicle interface and enhanced weapons delivery for the A-10C close air support fighter.

The $17.8m software upgrade, the third in an annual series planned for the A-10, will integrate critical communications and situational awareness capabilities into the aircraft.

Software baselines for the helmet-mounted cueing system that improves visual cues for the pilot and the lightweight airborne recovery system that integrates search and rescue capability are also included under the upgrade.

A-10 programme director at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, Roger Il Grande said this software upgrade is another critical achievement in the continued modernisation of a proven weapon system.

“Armed with these latest enhancements, A-10C pilots can more quickly access the information they need to prevail on the battlefield,” he said.

The software upgrade is scheduled for release in May 2011.