F-35 pilots are seeing double, but it's the plane that's drunk

Updated ·1 min read

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter may be stealthy, powerful and expensive, but the plane's greatest threat isn't the enemy. Instead, engineers have discovered a software glitch that gives these new super fighters the technological equivalent of double vision. F-35s are equipped with Advanced Sensor Fusion, a system that's designed to collate sensor data from all of the planes and combine them into one big picture. If you have 10 jets zooming around, all of the allied pilots and commanders will, theoretically, be able to see everything that's going on.

Unfortunately, when two planes look at the same object, they do so from different angles, and the sensors can't combine that data into a single cohesive image. That means that pilots are stuck with tactical displays that offer a vague sense of where the enemy is, but not if there's one combatant or several. Engineers, naval experts and a team from John's Hopkins Applied Physics Lab have all now been recruited to help solve the problem and fix the F-35's software. Until then, however, pilots are instructed to fly with some sensors disabled and only fly in pairs -- because, you know, technology.