Lockheed Finds Integration Shortcuts For New Weapons
Lockheed Martin has developed a new way to adapt its advanced strike weapons to existing aircraft interfaces, saving money and significantly shortening development times. Instead of creating unique interfaces that require special aircraft modifications in various systems, it’s using interfaces developed for other weapons. As an example, Lockheed Martin engineers modified the operational flight program software of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) so it responds to the F-16 aircraft’s existing Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) interface. The F-16 thinks it is launching a JSOW, and the JASSM flies off to strike its designated target.
This is not at all the way things are usually done, and it will be interesting to see if this expedient proves sustainable and evolves into “weapons architecture sets,” instead of the individual integration approach pursued to date. Spacewar.com has more.
UPDATE: JASSM is in fact part of a project called the Universal Armaments Interface (see also FBO solicitation ). The other initial UAI weapon will be the JDAM GPS-guided bomb. UAI continues to move ahead, and is currently part of the B-52 fleet’s avionics upgrade. JASSM completed its UAI-based integration onto the F-15E in July 2012.