F-35 Open Mission Systems?

The F-35 will eventually be an Open Mission Systems platform, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle said Tuesday. Speaking with defense reporters in Washington, D.C., Carlisle said OMS—which allows new sensors, software packages and other upgrades to a platform to be competed because the system architecture will allow modular improvements—is becoming “critical to just about everything we do in the … Air Force.” The typical time to buy new gear is seven years, he said, but Moore’s Law makes new gear obsolete within 18 months, “so we have to get to a point where we can upgrade at a pace that is reasonable with the development of capability.” When systems are “proprietary, it make it very difficult to upgrade,” Carlisle said. He said he frequently talks to Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, F-35 program director, and “the folks at Lockheed,” including outgoing F-35 program manager Lorraine Martin and incoming PM Jeff Babione, as well as Lockheed Martin Aerospace Executive Vice President Orlando Carvalho, “and we’re looking at all those things. In fact, we had a meeting … not too long ago,” attended by USAF acquisition chief William LaPlante, “and Lockheed basically came out straight and said, ‘We’re going to Open Mission Systems.’ So they’re helping us and they understand our desire to get there.” A Lockheed Martin spokesman, however, said that while OMS is a goal on the F-35, “it’s way down the line” and “there are no details, yet.”