Got an F-35 stealth jet? You may need to turn its radar off and on again

This software glitch’s solution is down to earth.

F-35 jet

Thinking of getting yourself a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II?

I would understand if you were tempted – after all, the marketing blurb is quite impressive:

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three variants of the F-35 will replace legacy fighters for the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and 10 other countries around the world.

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The stealth fighter jet hasn’t had the best journey to market – the most expensive military weapons system in history, has reportedly had a mind-boggling US $1.3 trillion (!) spent on its development.

And now, there’s a software glitch which will be familiar to many computer users, as Janes reports:

Major General Jeffrey Harrigian, director of the air force’s F-35 integration office at the Pentagon, described the problem as “radar stability – the radar’s ability to stay up and running” using the 3i software that the air force intends to use when it declares initial operational capability (IOC) for its fleet sometime between 1 August and 31 December.

“What would happen is they’d get a signal that says either a radar degrade or a radar fail -something that would force us to restart the radar,” Maj Gen Harrigian said in further describing the issue.

In other words, the fix is to turn the radar off and on again. Yes, pretty much the same advice you’re given by the IT support desk when your computer isn’t working properly.

This isn’t, of course, the first time that such a familiar fix beloved by IT support staff around the world has been proposed. Last year, Boeing discovered a potentially catastrophic bug in its 787 jumbo jet: if you left it turned on for 248 days all electrical power would be lost.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

2 comments on “Got an F-35 stealth jet? You may need to turn its radar off and on again”

  1. Phelbone Noovely

    Sounds like this should be covered under the FighterCarePlus extended warranty…which I'm sure the Pentagon bought. After all, it was our money, not theirs.

  2. zke

    It has just been announced that the Blue Angels will upgrade to the new super hornet instead of using the F-35. The blue angels were concerned about the f-35's reliability and poor agility.

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