Projects   /   Completed

A2347 — Joint Strike Fighter System-on-Chip RF Tuner Manufacturing

PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: March 2010 to September 2013


In the continuous drive to improve Unit Recurring Flyaway (URF) costs on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), technology advancements are being developed and incorporated into the redesign of existing modules. These changes may be driven by various circumstances such as Diminishing Manufacturing Source (DMS) events, additional required capability enhancements, or straight cost trades. The JSF Electronic Warfare (EW) system is currently faced with a DMS impacting the dual-channel RF tuner, a key component of its EW tuner and Digital RF Memory (DRFM) hardware suites. Furthermore, requirements of Blocks 4 & 5 require increased performance over the baseline EW tuner and DRFM suites. Redesign of the existing dual RF tuner for DMS replacement was projected to cost approximately $24M and would not provide the additional capability necessary to meet the increased Block 4/5 performance requirements. Development of a quadchannel RF tuner to replace the existing dual tuner would enable added Block 4/5 performance capability, while providing size, weight and cost savings.

The concept of the replacement quad RF tuner is a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) technology based design driven by DMS and performance capability demand, with secondary benefits of size, weight, and cost savings. This Electronics Manufacturing Productivity Facility (EMPF) effort entailed material evaluation and downselect as well as the development of manufacturing processes to allow for low cost, repeatable manufacturing of SoC devices. The results of this project are also being shared with the DOD industry, enabling a wider use of the cost, power, and capability enhancements offered by SoC technology and to speed up the adoption of this new technology by other defense equipment producers to magnify the payback on this investment by eliminating costly duplication efforts in maturing processing of SoC-based hardware materials and processes


Redesign of the existing dual RF tuner for DMS replacement would cost approximately $24M with no additional performance capability. Development of a quad-channel SoC RF tuner module, to replace the currently fielded dual-channel tuner, yields added performance capability mandated to meet the more stringent Block4/5 performance enhancement requirements, while increasing the density and reducing the size, weight and cost of the EW tuner and DRFM suites. Total URF cost savings estimated at $410K per JSF shipset. Current JSF LRIP production quantity projections predict savings of $45M across 140 systems in LRIP 11, scheduled to begin CY2017, with additional savings anticipated for LRIP 12 and beyond.


The results of this Navy ManTech project will be implemented as part of a hardware upgrade to the EW system for the JSF. BAE supplies the JSF EW suite to Lockheed Martin. The hardware upgrade is currently planned for cut-in during LRIP 11. Though the EW Suite for LRIP 11 has not been formally specified, it is expected that the use of the SoC-based RF tuner will play a critical role in the LRIP 11 hardware upgrade. The SoC-based RF tuner meets the product affordability and performance improvements specified by the JSF roadmap.

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