The U.S. Air Force plans to compete a requirement for the High-Fidelity Crew Station (HFCS) for the Joint Simulation Environment (JSE) for the Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-35.

The 412th Electronic Warfare Group at Edwards AFB, Calif., is to use HFCS for JSE.

F-35 JSE testing is part of the fighter’s initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E), the successful completion of which is required for a Pentagon decision to authorize F-35 full-rate production. The F-35 program established JSE for F-35 in 2016 after the program decided to take over work on the simulation environment from Lockheed Martin.

A delay in JSE testing has pushed back the F-35 full-rate production decision, and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said early this year that the completion of such testing is “long overdue” (Defense Daily, Feb. 24). The F-35 program has said that it now expects the completion of JSE testing by the end of next year.

The HFCS, which has yet to be funded, is to consist of a contractor-provided high-fidelity F-35 cockpit,  panoramic cockpit display and standby flight display (SFD), government furnished equipment (GFE) hands-on-throttle and stick (HOTAS), GFE rudder pedals, a GFE high fidelity F-35 cockpit seat, GFE visual display system (VDS), GFE image generation (IG) system, and GFE F-35 helmet and helmet-mounted display (HMD).

“The HFCS vendor will act as integrator for the HFCS and cockpit displays, HOTAS, rudder pedals, cockpit seat, and HMD,” according to a Nov. 9 business notice.

“The Air Force is seeking innovative solutions with regards to the fidelity of the proposed crew station, ability to transport/reposition within the workspace, and ingress/egress of cockpit by the operator while considering the stated boundaries (i.e., F-35 Cockpit and ergonomics, GFE compatibility, etc.) within this call,” per the business notice. “The solution offered will need to consider the human factor relationship or the physical relationship of the primary components of the simulator. The important aspects to retain are the physical relationships of the controls, displays, seat, and the pilot’s eye point (PEP).”

Construction started last February at Edwards AFB on a $34.4 million, 72,000 square foot Air Force JSE facility for fifth-generation and next-generation developmental test, operational test, and high-end advanced training and tactics development. Nellis AFB, Nev., is to have a smaller, $27.5 million, 50,000 square foot JSE testing environment.

“Multiple medium-fidelity simulators and high-fidelity Fighter-In-A-Box (FIAB) simulators will be integrated with the rest of the required simulation elements and services to become the JSE,” per the Nov. 9 business notice. “The High Fidelity F-35 FIAB simulators are for operations in dawn, day, dusk and nighttime Out-The-Window (OTW) visual scene conditions provided by a SpectraView 2.5 meter radius spherical display screen dome with the PEP at the dome’s visual center.”

“A GFE Gen 3.5 F-35 HMD will provide full F-35 imagery to the pilot as well as two-way audio for communications and other standard audio alerts and messages,” the notice said. “The requirement is for a high-fidelity replication of the F-35A Block 4 cockpit, to include but not limited to all controls, displays, primary and secondary panels and consoles, and full switch functionality. While the cockpit canopy rail will match the F-35A, the FIAB modelling will allow full simulation of all three F-35 variants (A/B/C).  The F-35 high-fidelity simulators will be used continuously for test and training purposes; the solutions offered should be considerate of continuous use.”

A data rights dispute on nine algorithms developed for FIAB is still before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA). The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) in 2019 ruled that Lockheed Martin did not develop the algorithms solely with its own funds and thus did not have data rights to the algorithms, and the company appealed the decision.