BLUFThe F-35 stealth fighter is well known for its stealth characteristics, weapons and costs, but the jet has many lesser-known attributes which add to its superiority.
The National Interest’s defence editor Kris Osborn argues that two words sum up the F-35’s understated attributes—sensing and computing. Osborn’s interviews with F-35 pilots revealed that the sensing, computing, and data ‘fusing’ on board the jet is how the aircraft separates itself from others. The ‘sensor fusion’ refers to a process that uses early iterations of artificial-intelligence-enabled computing and integrates critical information from otherwise separated data streams onto a single screen for the pilot. This process enables pilots to view navigational data, mission details, targeting information, and threat data on a single screen, thus easing the cognitive burden.
One pilot explained to Osborn that sensor fusion reduces pilot workload, allowing pilots to have a situational ‘bubble’. The fact the pilot has spare capacity increases survivability and makes them even more lethal. The technology is like nothing that was ever seen on a fourth-generation platform.