Save Article Instructions

Millions of dollars awarded for thousands of FPGAs going into F-35 Joint Strike Fighters

Posted by John Keller

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 12 June 2013. The Lockheed Martin Aeronautics segment in Fort Worth, Texas will provide 83,169 field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) from Xilinx Inc. in San Jose, Calif., for military planes under terms of a $104.7 million contract modification announced this week.

Officials of the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., awarded Lockheed Martin the contract modification to buy FPGAs for versions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for U.S. and allied militaries.

FPGAs are configurable computer processors with large amounts of logic gates and RAM blocks to implement complex digital computations. The devices can carry out any logical function that an that an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), yet are less expensive to produce, and are more flexible in their use.

Related stories

-- F-35 Joint Strike Fighter leverages COTS for avionics systems

-- Avionics: ahead of the curve

-- Designers can protect IP with FPGAs and bitstream encryption.

The FPGAs are for the low rate initial production lot VII through full-rate production lot III of the F-35. Of the 83,169 Xilinx FPGAs, 25,842 are for the U.S. Air Force, 10,517 for the U.S. Marine Corps, 9,517 for the Navy, 5,992 for Italy, 6,270 for turkey, 5,952 for Australia, 4,905 for Norway, 3,530 for the United Kingdom, 61 for The Netherlands, and 483 for Denmark. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is prime contractor for the F-35.

The communication, navigation, and identification friend or foe (IFF) avionics of the F-35 relies on Xilinx FPGAs, as do other critical electronic subsystems aboard the advanced jet. fighter-bomber. FPGAs enable Lockheed Martin to add new waveforms to embedded software radio systems in the F-35, as well as for real-time digital signal processing.

Lockheed Martin will do the work in Fort Worth, Texas, and should be finished with this contract modification by September 2014, Navy officials say.

For more information contact Lockheed Martin Aeronautics online at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

To access this Article, go to: