Asian Press Group banner 728x90Being optimists at APDR, we shall start with the good news. The upgrade of F-35s to the Block 4 configuration will be a step change in capability, possibly as great as the original concept of the aircraft to move from a 4th generation platform to a 5th. The bad news is that the upgrade program has been delayed by about a year – and the situation might get worse.

At the heart of the upgrade – and the major cause of the delay – is moving to a configuration known as Technical Refresh-3 (TR-3). This is based on installing a powerful new computer from L3Harris and a lot of associated software. Once in place, it will support the introduction of a host of new sensors, including the radar and the unique Distributed Aperture System (DAS) that allows the pilot to “see” through the aircraft via external cameras and have an uninterrupted 360-degree view of the outside world.

The new mission suite computer – or core processor – has 16 times the speed of the original one and 4.5 times the memory. It’s worth remembering that the current hardware is from around 2010 – and some specifications were developed even prior to that. About 14 years later the world has moved on, as reference to any smart phone will indicate.

This is an excerpt from APDR. To read the full story, click here.


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Kym Bergmann
Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.


  1. Meanwhile LM pats itself on the back as the 1,000th F-35 rolls off the line only to be parked up alongside hundreds of others (including the RAAF’s last 12 that LM promised to deliver before the end of 2023) as its “Technology Refresh” delay looks set to stretch on for years…insert cash register sound effects here.

  2. blah blah blah…
    Avalon Air Show March 1, 2023 Lockheed Martin said it was on track to complete Australia’s order of 72 F-35 Lightning II fighters by the end of 2023.

    “As of today, they (RAAF) have 59 airplanes, here in Australia,” said Steve Over, Lockheed Martin’s head of international business noting, that a 60th jet is complete and “waiting on the ramp” at Lockheed’s Fort Worth, Texas production facility.
    “We’ll deliver the remaining 12 aircraft before the end of this year,”


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