Boeing has delivered the first F-22 integrated avionics software package to its 757 Flying Test Bed, two weeks ahead of schedule.
The delivery is one of the final U.S. Department of Defense program criteria the F-22 contractor team needed to meet before a contract can be awarded for production aircraft.
The integrated avionics, which includes radar, mission, Inertial Reference System, Pilot Vehicle Interface and cockpit display software, will be tested aboard the company's F-22 Flying Test Bed, a modified 757 jet. The test bed will help reduce avionics development costs by enabling extensive in-flight testing, evaluation and troubleshooting before much of the avionics are installed on the F-22. Avionics flight tests on the test bed will begin in early 1999.
Bob Barnes, Boeing F-22 program manager and vice president, said the software delivery is a major milestone, important in that it keeps the program on track for a production contract award.
"More than 5,000 hours of testing were completed in our avionics integration laboratory prior to delivery," Barnes said. "Our folks have been working extremely hard not only to meet this milestone, but to get there ahead of schedule."
Other significant program criteria met by the F-22 team include passing 183 flight-test hours, breaking the sound barrier, flying above 30,000 feet, in-flight refueling, completing ground-vibration tests and angle-of-attack tests up to 18 degrees. Contracts for the advanced buy of the first six F-22s and two production representative test vehicles are expected to be awarded in late December.
Boeing is teamed with Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney to design and build the F-22 Raptor for the U.S. Air Force as the next generation air dominance fighter.
Boeing supplies the F-22's wings, aft fuselage, radar, mission software, avionics integration and testing, as well as training and life-support systems.