Norway-based Kitron has been awarded a contract to develop a test programme set (TPS) for evaluating and troubleshooting avionics of the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft.

The NOK16m ($2m) contract was awarded by Northrop Grumman. It requires the company to manufacture TPS equipment, which consists of complex interface test assemblies that work with Lockheed Martin-built LM-STAR test system.

LM-STAR is considered as the standard system for developing and maintaining avionics of the F-35 Lightning II, the F-16 Block 60, F-22 and AH-64 aircraft.

The TPS is expected to be used at Kitron and Northrop’s repair facilities to evaluate and troubleshoot L-Band Pre-Selector line replaceable units, a module in the F-35’s communication, navigation, and identification (CNI) avionics suite.

"The TPS is expected to be used at Kitron and Northrop’s repair facilities to evaluate and troubleshoot L-Band Pre-Selector line replaceable units."

The integrated CNI suite, which is built by Northrop, provides F-35 pilots with the capability of more than 27 avionics functions, including voice and data communication, Link 16, joint precision and approach landing system, as well as the multifunction advanced data link for low-observable platforms.

Advanced software-defined radio technology is used within the design of the CNI. This facilitates the simultaneous operation of multiple critical functions, while reducing size, weight and power requirements on the advanced fighter aircraft.

Work under the contract is scheduled to be carried out over the next four years.

Under a separate manufacturing license agreement signed with Northrop, the Norway-based company will also manufacture and repair several subassemblies for the F-35 CNI system.

The F-35 is manufactured by Lockheed. It is a fifth-generation multi-role fighter aircraft, and is designed to conduct a wide range of ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defence missions with stealth capability.

The three F-35 variants include a conventional take-off and landing aircraft for the US and allied air forces, a short takeoff and landing fighter for the US Marine Corps and the UK Royal Navy, as well as a carrier version for the US Navy.