Lockheed Martin is planning to install “sixth generation” updates to its fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets including automated collision avoidance features and a 40 percent increase in fuel tank capacity, Defense News reported Saturday.
The Block 4 modifications will build on Lockheed’s planned F-35 Lot 15 updates which will be implemented in 2023 and include “tech refresh” modifications such as integrated computer processing units and display systems.
Greg Ulmer, vice president and general manager of Lockheed’s F-35 program, previously said the Lot 15 modifications may enable the aircraft to carry hypersonic technologies and conduct operations with unmanned systems.
“I think it really does reflect on the value of what F-35 is bringing to the pilots and the battlespace. In terms of technology, we’re not going to let F-35 go static,” noted Michele Evans, executive vice president for Lockheed’s aeronautics business, during the Paris Air Show.
The firm intends to begin Block 4 production by the mid-2020s.