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New uses planned for F-22 CIP

Guy Norris/LOS ANGELES

HUGHES AIRCRAFT, Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force are studying new applications for the common integrated processor (CIP), developed for the F-22 fighter. These include proposed variants of the F-22, several upgrade programmes and the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) aircraft project.

The first production CIP, which provides all the computer processing for the F-22's avionics, sensors and displays, was delivered by Hughes to Westinghouse on 2 August. Each F-22 will fly with two CIPs, although room for a third is available for future expansion. Each shipset packs the equivalent processing power of two Cray supercomputers.

Hughes F-22 CIP deputy programme manager Troy Nestor says: "We are working with the USAF System Programme Office and co-operating with Lockheed Martin to offer the CIP as an open standard. Essentially it will be offered to everybody. Most of the interconnects are already standard and we're trying to release the remainder of the interfaces now. A document should be ready within weeks."

The USAF's F-22 SPO core processing leader, John Howard, says that making the most use of the CIP technology and investment "...has been in our minds, from the Government's point of view, all along". He adds that the results of the critical design review in 1994 marked the start of preparations to make the CIP more generally available.

"The Government spent a lot of money on programmes like Pave Pillar to come up with an architecture that's very flexible, and new applications would get the maximum return on that investment."

Hughes is widely expected to bid the baseline CIP for the first JAST avionics competition due to get under way this month. The CIP will be offered for two design, research and technology maturation contracts, worth $79.5 million. These cover integrated core processing, and are due for completion by November 1999. Honeywell is expected to bid with a derivative of the aircraft information management system (AIMS) architecture, which was developed for the Boeing 777.

The team has also completed preliminary studies of revised CIPs for a variety of F-22 derivatives being evaluated under a 24-month, $9.5 million USAF contract. These include strategic attack/interdiction, lethal and non-lethal suppression of enemy air-defences, reconnaissance and surveillance.

Two CIPs will be installed on the Boeing 757 avionics flying testbed for flight tests beginning in 1998. The first flight of a CIP on an F-22 is set for 28 April, 1999, when the fourth test aircraft, the first avionics aircraft, is due to undergo tests.

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