F-35 anti-collision software to be integrated ahead of schedule

FORT WORTH, Texas. The F-35 Joint Program Office, U.S. Air Force, and Lockheed Martin have started integrating the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto-GCAS) on to Air Force F-35As in the fleet.

Graphic courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

Auto- GCAS was initially slated for delivery in the 2026 timeframe, but the joint government and industry team fielded the technology earlier than previously planned.

Originally developed for the F-16 in partnership with NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory, Auto-GCAS uses terrain mapping, geolocation, and automation to detect and avoid potential ground collisions. When the program recognizes imminent impact, it will prompt the pilot to take action. If the pilot is unresponsive, Auto-GCAS assumes temporary control to divert the aircraft out of harm's way, and then returns control of the aircraft to the pilot once on a safe trajectory.

Air Force F-35As are the first to receive Auto-GCAS, and the system will next be integrated aboard the F-35B and F-35C variants.