Lockheed Martin is planning to install â€œsixth generationâ€ 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 Lockheedâ€™s planned F-35 Lot 15 updates which will be implemented in 2023 and include â€œtech refreshâ€ modifications such as integrated computer processing units and display systems.
Greg Ulmer, vice president and general manager of Lockheedâ€™s F-35 program, previously said the Lot 15 modifications may enable the aircraft to carry hypersonic technologies and conduct operations with unmanned systems.
â€œI think it really does reflect on the value of what F-35 is bringing to the pilots and the battlespace. In terms of technology, weâ€™re not going to let F-35 go static,â€ noted Michele Evans, executive vice president for Lockheedâ€™s aeronautics business, during the Paris Air Show.
The firm intends to begin Block 4 production by the mid-2020s.