back to article F-35 firmware patches to be rolled out 'like iPhone updates'

Initial software development for the F-35 fighter jet is coming to an end, while future tweaks to the aircraft’s onboard systems will be rolled out like smartphone app updates, according to reports. “Envision a little window that pops up that says, ‘Your latest [electro-optical distributed aperture system] software update is …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Samsung TV software update comes to mind

    Dunno why, but the software update for Samsung TVs comes to my mind...

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: Samsung TV software update comes to mind

      Unless you fly aboard your Samsung TV (which would make me be really impressed about Samsung TVs), I don't see how they might resemble...

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Samsung TV software update comes to mind

        "I don't see how they might resemble..."

        The OP was probably refering to a recent "smart" TV firmware "update" that bricked the machine due to some bug - or more likely outsourced sub continent halfwit copying the wrong file - causing firmware for the wrong machine type to be uploaded. In a TV thats annoying, in an aircraft that could be instantly fatal.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Samsung TV software update comes to mind

          "Instantly fatal"? That's a bit of hyperbole, methinks. I'm pretty sure the software updates won't be delivered in flight, or applied by the pilots at all.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Samsung TV software update comes to mind

            But the F35 is all that is saving us from invasion.

            If a dodgy software update grounded the fleet we would instantly be killed by the aerial armadas of ISIS - otherwise why are we spending $10bn on them?

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Samsung TV software update comes to mind

              "otherwise why are we spending $10bn on them?"

              Come to that, why is anybody spending money on them when the software still isn't able to support the product's purpose, combat. And come to that why are we spending money on carriers which also aren't ready to do the same because we still don't have the planes to fly from them? Eventually, of course, they are hoped to be ready but we rather hope the Russians don't invade before then.

              Yes Prime Minister: "So if the Russians are to invade, we'd prefer them to do it between Mondays and Fridays?"

              1. Korev Silver badge

                Re: Samsung TV software update comes to mind

                Up until recently the Swiss Air Force were only on standby in office hours. I believe that having to ask the French nicely to borrow some fighters to escort a plane that had lost communication was justification to get full time coverage.

              2. jmch Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Samsung TV software update comes to mind

                "Come to that, why is anybody spending money on them when...."

                Because the reason for these programs isn't military it's political. MPs get to send some pork to their local districts and PMs / Presidents / generals can play "look what a big dick I have"

          2. davcefai

            Re: Samsung TV software update comes to mind

            Man, are you an optimimist!

          3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: Samsung TV software update comes to mind

            "Instantly fatal"? That's a bit of hyperbole, methinks. I'm pretty sure the software updates won't be delivered in flight,

            So instead of being bricked in-flight, it will be bricked before flight. Isn't it wonderful having most (for some countries all) of your air force on the ground for a nice "fish in a barrel" shooting spree exercise.

            Add to that the idea that USA has to approve your flight plans as the mission software is integrated with spares and logistics and is located in USA mil cloud.

            Even the most desperate Nazi super-weapon attempts towards the end of WW2 did not get anywhere as surreal as that. This just beats the Sur out of Surreal.

            1. Mark 110

              Re: Samsung TV software update comes to mind

              @Voland

              I have never worked on a military contract but have done a couple of central government. They are as risk averse as it gets (and I have done a few banking/financial services). I am reliably informed military are a whole new level of paranoia.

              I'm not saying they couldn't release a fatal bug to production (we all know thats always possible) but there's a whole different level of rigour involved compared to the commercial world.

            2. DougS Silver badge

              @Voland's right hand

              So instead of being bricked in-flight, it will be bricked before flight. Isn't it wonderful having most (for some countries all) of your air force on the ground for a nice "fish in a barrel" shooting spree exercise.

              I can't believe anyone seriously believes there will be updates delivered without any choice, and they'll have to be applied all planes at the same time. A clueless Vice Admiral had the process explained to him by techies in dumbed-down language they thought he could understand, and he interpreted it to mean there will be a pop up that says such and such an update is ready that can happen at any time like it does on an iPhone.

              I'll happily bet anyone any amount of money that is NOT going to happen. The plane will have to be in some sort of 'service' mode to download/apply updates, and they'll be delivered via wire (i.e. on ground when being serviced by techs with the pilots nowhere around) not over the air.

              If anyone decides to update their entire air force without doing a couple first as a test and making sure the pilots check it out as OK, they deserve to have their country's air force destroyed by someone shooting fish in a barrel.

              The US control over the whole process of dealing with the F35s is a real concern, but one that any country that can't afford to develop its own military gear faces, and one that's separate from the software updates. What I'd be worried about if I was another country is that the US could include a super-secret 'kill' switch on the plane they can trigger via satellite, by i.e. inserting a command into the GPS data stream the plane will constantly be receiving. If they're being nice it prevents weapons fire and the plane will refuse to take off again after landing. If they're not being so nice, the plane would simply fall out of the sky and fingers crossed the ejection seat will still operate.

              1. Steve the Cynic

                Re: @Voland's right hand

                "and fingers crossed the ejection seat will still operate."

                Given that the ejection seat is the one part of the plane that *must*, almost by definition, function when the plane is completely without any sort of power,(1) I'd say this isn't as such a worry, or at least not for the reason implied.

                (1) It must work in the circumstance where the engine has stopped and the hydraulics and electrics are busted and it wouldn't matter anyway because the ram-air turbine didn't deploy like it's supposed to, so there's no thrust, no hydraulics, and no electricity either. You pull the handle, the rockets fire mechanicomechanically, and the canopy goes bye-bye.(2)

                (2) In a pinch, just because the seat fires directly through it, but in most planes it is ejected or shattered by explosive means.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Samsung TV software update comes to mind

            Software updates have to be delivered in flight!

  2. kain preacher Silver badge

    You mean this is going to force an update at the worst possible time ? I can see this now. Over hostile territory and your system reboots.

    1. Mike Richards

      Worse - it'll give you a macOS style countdown until it reboots as you gun the plane for the nearest friendly airport.

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        You mean windows 10 style forced update then reboot?

    2. macjules Silver badge

      I would be more worried about the on-board Kaspersky AV software ...

    3. PNGuinn
      Mushroom

      Or more to the point ...

      "I see you're about to bomb the sh*t out of country x. Uncle Sam / $ rouge state sponsored leet hackorz doesn't want you to do that ..."

      OR

      Over the radio in a combat zone ...

      "Hello, this is Ferdinand from microsoft, there is a problem with the computer in your F-35 ...."

      1. fnj

        Re: Or more to the point ...

        "Rouge" state. Would that be jeweler's rouge or mortician's rouge? Bwahaha.

        1. Lotaresco

          Re: Or more to the point ...

          ""Rouge" state. Would that be jeweler's rouge or mortician's rouge?"

          It probably means Louisiana; that's where Baton Rouge is.

    4. Lotaresco

      "Over hostile territory"

      Given the current state of US politics, doesn't that mean "anywhere"? Hated at home as much as abroad thanks to President Jaffa.

  3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Coming soon

    Targeted adverts on the HUD.

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Coming soon

      Targeted adverts on the HUD.

      "Click on all pictures of storefronts."

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: "Click on all pictures of storefronts."

        "Targeting system now locked... firing..."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Coming soon

      Just don't enable location.

      Very Bad Idea.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Coming soon

        No, it's a beautiful idea, very beautiful. The Beautifullest!

        (anyone know someone in the business of putting up new buildings?)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Call me stupid and old fashioned but why on earth would you need to update a fighter jets firmware incrementally?

    Surely you would get it right, apply it, go away and improve it, test it then apply it.

    The only reason for incremental updates is if the software isn't ready, that's a scary thought, though technically not as worrying as over the air updates and security.

    1. Seanie Ryan

      surely????

      "Surely you would get it right, apply it, go away and improve it, test it then apply it."

      Surely that is the very definition of an incremental update?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: surely????

        It sounds like it and it is incremental to a degree but the way they are doing it sounds some crappy android app that updates every week for a text field fix or because they forgot something in the previous version.

        Like I said, get it right, test it, apply it. None of this version 3F/3i/3J/3k rubbish, have fixed versions 3/4/5/6, it's a fighter jet for the love of dog.

        I don't even want to get started on data corruption because over the air doesn't fill me with confidence even if you spend the time putting all the obvious checks in place before applying it then after it's applied.

        As this is America do you have to get the pro version or will it have ads?

        1. 40k slimez

          Re: surely????

          "it's a fighter jet for the love of dog."

          Not yet its not ... you need version 4......

      2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: surely????

        Don't call me Shirley.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Coat

          DevOps, Agile, Continous Delivery

          There's still time for Lockheed Martin to submit papers...

          https://continuouslifecycle.london/call-for-papers/

          or perhaps attend the event and apply what they learn to the F-35

        2. fobobob

          Re: surely????

          Roger, Roger.

          1. hplasm Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: surely????

            Please be advised.

            Roger has been Rogered.

            A-firmative.

    2. thames

      They're adding feature updates to support things like new weapons that various customers want to use. Some of those include new weapons that did not exist when the plane was being designed.

      Some of it is also feature updates to enable features that were left "for later" because the software was so far behind.

      Some of it is updates to deal with problems that were discovered during flight testing. Those include hardware problems (bugs) by the way, not just software bugs.

      The plane is technically still under development. The customers (US and UK now) are now flying early models around and reporting back problems to be fixed. Actual normal full production doesn't start for a few years yet.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        The plane is technically still under development. The customers (US and UK now) are now flying early models around and reporting back problems to be fixed.

        I've paid $30 or $40 for early access of a steam game, basically being an alpha or beta tester. Then I get the full game on release.

        But paying billions (or tens of billions) of dollars for early access alpha testing? And having to pay for upgrades (in unavailable downtime if not extra money for specific upgrades) - fuck me.

        Wonder what the kickbacks were for that particular agreement?

        1. GrumpyOldBloke

          Yeah but the graphics are better.

        2. kain preacher Silver badge

          No kick backs, more like collusion since the competitors do it too.

          Funny side note my spell checker kept on saying don't you mean collision. I'm getting worried that google can read what web site I'm on in real time. Google up stories on the f 35. Ok pulling up articles on wasted money.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "why on earth would you need to update a fighter jets firmware incrementally?"

      Because BAe were contracted to do a lot of it and the contract money ran out before they'd fixed all the bugs they'd written into it?

    4. 40k slimez

      Call me old fashioned, but surely one of the prime requisites for a "jet fighter" would be that it can actually fight!

      "Yes, we said we'll make it Combat Enabled in the next version... North Korea are doing what? Can't they wait a few weeks.... Open Beta isn't even planned yet and TBH the fire control system is just stubs atm...."

    5. handleoclast
      Coat

      Incremental updates

      Call me stupid and old fashioned but why on earth would you need to update a fighter jets firmware incrementally?

      The whole point of fly-by-wire systems is that they allow aircraft to be designed which are aerodynamically unstable. An aerodynamically unstable aircraft, if you can control it (unaided humans can't, computers can), is more agile.

      Nothing could be more appropriate for an agile aircraft than agile development and updates. Devops with a vengeance.

      And, like agile/devops, fuck quality and reliability. "Minor issues" will be fixed in the next release, in 30 minutes. The fact that your aircraft crashed before the new update just means you're no longer around to complain about the old release not working properly.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Incremental updates

        "The whole point of fly-by-wire systems is that they allow aircraft to be designed which are aerodynamically unstable."

        Bit like the old Starfighter, then?

    6. ecofeco Silver badge

      Shitware. It's all shitware these days.

  5. TRT Silver badge

    Hmm...

    Update complete...

    Power on...

    Huh?...

    "Repairs to this aircraft have been made using non-Lockheed Martin components. Please contact an authorised service centre."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm...

      "Greetings, Comrade! Welcome to very happy F35 software update!"

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Versioning scheme

    Hmm... If they're going from 3i to 3F it seems to imply that they didn't anticipate needing more than 26 interim versions between each major release.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Versioning scheme

      Military updates are typically numbered NNNN-HHHHH-NNNNN, where N is an integer and H is a hex number.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Versioning scheme

      "Hmm... If they're going from 3i to 3F it seems to imply that they didn't anticipate needing more than 26 interim versions between each major release."

      I thought it implied they tried 3j to 3z, then wrapped around to 3A and now are reaching 3F. I guess all those interim updates didn't quite work and were skipped over.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Versioning scheme

      "If they're going from 3i to 3F it seems to imply that they didn't anticipate needing more than 26 interim versions between each major release."

      i is interim and F is Final? Although it looks as if there's going to be an interim final. Will this be followed by a Nearly Final, and Almost There Final and a Real Soon Now Final?

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "it seems to imply that they didn't anticipate needing more than 26 interim versions between

      each major release."

      Yeay...

      And yet strangely I find myself un reassured by the fact they expect only 26 minor bug release versions before major roll outs.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "download: yes or no’?"

    Not over the Internet, no. No way. Not in a million years.

    I do hope this download functionality means from a secure site to a local, secure server, then control and validation of the package and then distribution to the planes via sneakernet.

    The last thing you want for multi-million dollar jets is to let them open to man-in-the-middle attacks and all the other joys of Internet insecurity. The only way to be sure that these very expensive tools are not vulnerable is to not have them link up.

    Period.

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: "download: yes or no’?"

      Don't be daft, they will be updated from a "secure" Windows* laptop that's been surfing a Russian porn site.

      *any version

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: "download: yes or no’?"

      USB!

      If it's deemed good enough for the Wildcat in-lieu of a TDL...

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/17/lynx_wildcat_has_no_tactical_data_link_royal_navy

    3. PNGuinn
      WTF?

      Re: "download: yes or no’?" @Pascal

      Secure site, secure server??

      Don't think I've ever met one of those .....

      1. Lotaresco

        Re: "download: yes or no’?" @Pascal

        Secure site, secure server?? Don't think I've ever met one of those .....

        I think that at this point we are exploring the ignorance of the commentators rather than the lack of capability of the military.

    4. Lotaresco

      Re: "download: yes or no’?"

      "Not over the Internet, no. No way. Not in a million years."

      There is an awful lot of military traffic that goes over the Internet. I suspect that it's probably "most" military traffic. And the Internet isn't a million years old yet. Then there's all the military traffic that is broadcast over a huge geographical footprint.

      Can you work out why no one cares about this?

      "The only way to be sure that these very expensive tools are not vulnerable is to not have them link up."

      Bullshit.

  8. Nolveys Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    “Even with the final version of 3F, the Air Force will not be able to use the newest aircraft in combat,”

    That's okay, it still performs its primary function quite well, burning through boatloads of tax money.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Which does seem odd as the USMC have been flying theirs over South Korea recently, which is hardly the place you want to be taking a non-combat capable aircraft. Unless they're saying it's not reached FOC (Full Operational Capability) yet, which isn't quite the same as being non-combat capable.

      1. thames

        @SkippyBing - Part of the testing process will involve flying the plane around various parts of the world to see what sorts of problems will crop up. They won't be looking for just problems with the plane itself, but also problems with the training, base facilities, communications systems, spare parts supply and inventory system, ground equipment, etc., etc.

        The plane software is also localised, in terms of having to download new software components to support features in specific parts of the world. The details of this are not public, but apparently if you buy the plane for use in one part of the world you have to get a software update from the US to use it in another part of the world. The issue is apparently related to limited data storage which prevents them from downloading a global data set to all the planes.

        The end result is that they can't know if the plane, including all its support infrastructure, is going to work in Korea until they actually test it in Korea. The presence of the F-35s there is only making the news because of all the other things happening are causing the press to report whatever other military news they can find.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          The planes flying over Korea are already forward based in Japan and have reached Initial Operating Capability, they were taking part in a show of force with F-15s and B-1s. It was literally doing operational tasking.

          https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/news/amp28034/b-1-f-35-north-korea/

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          The end result is that they can't know if the plane, including all its support infrastructure, is going to work in Korea until they actually test it in Korea.

          "Are we ready for Operation Overlord?"

          "We have a slight snag, Prime Minister. We don't know if our planes are going to be able to operate in France. We have to take them over there to do some testing first. Can the Foreign Office arrange that with the Germans?"

        3. David Roberts Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Limited data storage?

          No SD card slot, then?

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Mushroom

        @SkippyBing

        ...which is hardly the place you want to be taking a non-combat capable aircraft

        It's ok - Everyone is hoping that the North Koreans have non-combat capable Nukes

  9. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    Dear God, no ...

    It's bad enough when your sat nav* crashes/freezes/reboots. But the whole vehicle (OK airplane here, makes it worse)

    *Or sat-nav app. I've had both fail at 70 on a motorway.

    1. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Dear God, no ...

      "It's bad enough when your sat nav* crashes/freezes/reboots. But the whole vehicle (OK airplane here, makes it worse)"

      Oh don't worry, the headless chicken rush into needless complexity shoehorned in to road vehicles simply to have marketing tickbox features that only appeal to people to young to actually hold a driving license continues unabated. Very soon you'll be able to look forward to OTA updates of your cars core software just as you're entering a tunnel.

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Dear God, no ...

      "*Or sat-nav app. I've had both fail at 70 on a motorway."

      Oh no! What happened then?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will the updates be deployed from the cloud?

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      No... over the air... in the air.

  11. nematoad Silver badge

    Same old.

    It looks to me like ye olde Pentagon tap dance has started again.

    Project officers are always keen to assure their superiors that all is going smoothly and that things will be delivered on time. After all there are promotions to be considered.

    This way if anyone comes along and says "This aspect of the software isn't working." the contractor or project officer can turn around and say "Don't worry about that it's all fixed in the next version that will be rolled out real soon."

    That way timelines are made just a bit more elastic and help give those in authority the impression that things are in hand and there is nothing to worry about.

    I recommend Col. James G Burton's book The Pentagon Wars as an insight into how things are arranged and managed in the procurement of weapons at the Pentagon.

    1. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: Same old.m

      I was thinking about that movie. 20 years to get the bradely into service. Over 7 major revisions ,Isreal would not take it as configured for the Americans( Death trap). Oh and the comments in the notes were funny.

    2. fobobob

      Re: Same old.

      "I recommend Col. James G Burton's book The Pentagon Wars as an insight into how things are arranged and managed in the procurement of weapons at the Pentagon."

      I'm sure something was lost/goofed in adaptation to another format, but the movie is also quite entertaining.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Same old.

        "I recommend Col. James G Burton's book The Pentagon Wars as an insight into how things are arranged and managed in the procurement of weapons at the Pentagon."
        I usually recommend Fred Reed's Au Phuc Dup and Nowhere to Go: The Only Really True Book About Viet Nam as a primer on US military management.

  12. FLes

    Give them some credit

    They've figured out a way to have each plane crash twice.

  13. jonathan keith

    Error 0x00000245

    Water exposure detected. Your warranty is now void. Please contact an authorised service centre for repair.

    1. Sureo

      Re: Error 0x00000245

      Better yet, Microsoft specialty: "Process failed, unknown error."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Error 0x00000245

        That's a General Failure.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Error 0x00000245

          Nah, just a grey screen with a "sad face" smiley.

    2. fobobob

      Re: Error 0x00000245

      Better than 0x0000009A SYSTEM_LICENSE_VIOLATION - the system will now self-destruct.

      Still probably better than 'Something happened.'

      1. Number6

        Re: Error 0x00000245

        ENOTTY - Not a typewriter.

        Except it wouldn't be an error i this case but an accurate statement of fact.

  14. Jimathy

    This is going to be great.......

    ......when someone else gets control of the update server.

  15. LeahroyNake Silver badge

    SOW

    Did all the buyers forget to get a Statement Of Works before the order was placed ?

    There is a lot of leeway if they carry on 'making it up as they go'. Cost plus obviously.

  16. TonyMorehen

    Going from 3i to 3F, seems like the software updates are going backwards. Must be a military intelligence thing.

  17. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Alert

    Error 0x0000020C

    Fingers crossed an F-35 does not get many of these errors when downloading updates

  18. Joe User

    The current version, Block 3i, is due to be superseded by Block 3F once development on the latest version is completed

    The whole F-35 project looks more 4-F to me....

    (For those who are unfamiliar with that designation, see http://directionsindentistry.net/4f-unfit-for-service-because-of-teeth/ ).

  19. Chris G Silver badge

    Giving them Ideas

    I remember myself and others making jokes in these columns about Patch Tuesday regarding the F-35,

    I'm quite dismayed that it has more or less become reality and that anyone should think that is a valid way to sell the most expensive non-functioning warplane ever.

    All I can imagine is the team of pond dwelling lawyers that wrote the contract for Lockheed Martin are the best pond life out there.

  20. Number6

    Update Process

    The only way updates should be applied to this sort of stuff is by user intervention. Someone needs to have physical access to the aircraft and flip a switch, insert a key or other positive action that allows the upgrade to occur, in conjunction with detecting that the aircraft is on the ground and otherwise powered down. IT should only accept a signed image, and also inhibit all functions related to movement until the upgrade interlock is removed.

    The same is true for cars, too (especially the 'on the ground' bit).

    1. handleoclast

      Re: Update Process

      @Number6

      "Weight on wheels" is a reasonably good signal to use for this and is already available to ensure the radar stops transmitting/frying ground personnel.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Update Process

        Re: Weight-on-Wheels switch" - just make sure the switch CANNOT be left in the 'on' position once the aircraft is in the air!

        AC because I know who did it... :-)

  21. CFtheNonPartisan

    When an update fails the pilot can just call 1-800-OH-SH1T. "Thank you for calling. Your call is very important but we are experiencing a higher than normal volume of calls. Please visit our web site or stay on the line to talk to a support representative. You are number 137 in the queue."

  22. eldakka Silver badge

    Hope they don't

    get into a boot-loop after an upgrade.

  23. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    FAIL

    What a fine advertisement for writing large real time combat systems in C/C++

    Because, y'know, Ada was so tough to find developers in, according to LM and BAe systems.

    "“Even with the final version of 3F, the Air Force will not be able to use the newest aircraft in combat,” "

    So not the actual last-positively-the-last-cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-be-spanked-very-hard-on-the-bottom-if-I-go-back-on-this-promise version then.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About our spiffy new aircraft carrier....

    Quote: "“Even with the final version of 3F, the Air Force will not be able to use the newest aircraft in combat,” reports Aviation Week. This applies equally to the F-35Bs bought by the UK as it does to USAF F-35As. The plan is for a future version, Block 4, to be the first combat-capable version."

    *

    Right now, the Royal Navy has a spiffy, expensive, brand new aircraft carrier....with no aircraft!!

    *

    This news item seems to suggest that next year, when the F-35 aircraft are delivered, we will still have an non-operational aircraft carrier....because the Royal Navy " will not be able to use the newest aircraft in combat".

    *

    Once again "keeping us safe" seems like an expensive lie. What am I missing?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: About our spiffy new aircraft carrier....

      "What am I missing?"

      A few bob out of your pocket, taken in taxes to pay for all this.

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: About our spiffy new aircraft carrier....

      "Once again "keeping us safe" seems like an expensive lie. What am I missing?"
      That it's one less weapon the government can deploy against its own citizens.

  25. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Philosophilcally

    Could a combat aircraft said to be or not to be - if it's not combat ready ?

    Cesi n'est pas une F35

  26. Camilla Smythe

    Excellent Top Gun Sequel Material.

    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/24/top-gun-2-is-definitely-happening-says-tom-cruise

    Mr Cruise is getting his butt fucked by multiple opposition aircraft.

    Clippy: "You appear to be getting your butt fucked. May I suggest the latest unstable release?"

    Cruise: "Fuck Yeah!"

    OK... maybe not such a good idea.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Excellent Top Gun Sequel Material.

      Cruise: I feel the need.... the need for Service Pack1

  27. davidp231

    So these would be ITA updates? That will be fun at 20,000ft...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...software support cheerily provided by (outsourced) Asian locale. Please be aware of the different time zones.

  29. Dave Ross

    I see you are trying to breath...

    would you like some oxygen? Well, tough!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: I see you are trying to breath...

      Oxygen is available for premium tier customers - please swipe your card in the slot

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps it's better than taking FIFTEEN YEARS...

    Yep. A rather straightforward software update to a system on a certain aircraft. Sorry, I can't be specific.

    Her Majesty's servants have managed to keep it as-yet unfielded since circa-2002.

    Fifteen years and counting...

    1. John McCallum
      Mushroom

      Re: Perhaps it's better than taking FIFTEEN YEARS...

      Don't be coy tell them it is the Chinook and it is because the gobment forgot to get the correct clause in the initial contract ,you know the one about the source code.

  31. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
    Mushroom

    As long as ...

    ... support for the headphone jack doesn't disappear.

    By the way, what is error EIEIO?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: As long as ...

      what is error EIEIO

      You are about to buy the farm ?

  32. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    You know how "Tony Stark" in Iron Man is losely modelled on Elon Musk?

    Ever wondered who "Obadiah Stane" was modeled on?

    Good 'ol LM. Keeping the men and women of the Congress funded and lobbyists employed for at least 7 decades.

  33. Gavin Burnett

    Ah well

    At least the cylons will be happy to hear about this.

  34. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Why not just install Clippy and save everybody the trouble?

  35. PeterM42
    Pirate

    Hold the war.....

    .....I just need to reboot my F35's

  36. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Trollface

    so now I know why we got such a six-pack of whoopass in the original independence day - the aliens haxx0red us!

  37. Andy Bell

    The Spitfire entered service with guns that didn't fire at common combat altitudes and an engine that didn't work if the aeroplane was upside down.

    Seemed to work out OK in the end.

  38. HKmk23
    Facepalm

    Perhaps it is the I-FKD update?

    We are of course talking about the aircraft that once it has taken off from our wonderful new aircraft carriers, cannot land back on them until it has fired/unloaded/ditched all its ammunition and bombs.

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