Flights of the F-35 strike fighter’s sensor suite aboard a BAC 1-11 surrogate test bed at the Northern Edge training exercise in Alaska in June proved to be a “very, very successful demonstration” of those sensors’ capabilities, said Maj. Gen. C.D. Moore, F-35 program office deputy director. “Now our challenge” is to integrate the suite on the stealth fighter, he said during an Air Force Association-sponsored Air Force Breakfast Program speech in Arlington, Va., Wednesday. In fact, along with durability testing and controlling program cost, that integration—and “being able to write” the software for it—is one of the biggest remaining hurdles in F-35 development, asserted Moore. “I think these are the three key challenges the program faces,” he said. (Want Moore? Read Proving Maturity.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.