Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Software Bug Halts F-22 Flight

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the dare-you-to-cross-this-line dept.

Bug 579

mgh02114 writes "The new US stealth fighter, the F-22 Raptor, was deployed for the first time to Asia earlier this month. On Feb. 11, twelve Raptors flying from Hawaii to Japan were forced to turn back when a software glitch crashed all of the F-22s' on-board computers as they crossed the international date line. The delay in arrival in Japan was previously reported, with rumors of problems with the software. CNN television, however, this morning reported that every fighter completely lost all navigation and communications when they crossed the international date line. They reportedly had to turn around and follow their tankers by visual contact back to Hawaii. According to the CNN story, if they had not been with their tankers, or the weather had been bad, this would have been serious. CNN has not put up anything on their website yet." The Peoples Daily of China reported on Feb. 17 that two Raptors had landed on Okinawa.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Overflow (-1)

P(0)(!P(k)+P(k+1)) (1012109) | more than 7 years ago | (#18146906)

From TFS:

[E]very fighter completely lost all navigation and communications when they crossed the international date line.

Since Japan is nineteen hours [hawaii.edu] ahead of Hawaii, I'll assume they're adding a day; and if the onboard system is using, say, 64-bit ints for femtoseconds [google.com] since takeoff, that's sufficient for an overflow.

Re:Overflow (1, Interesting)

MindKata (957167) | more than 7 years ago | (#18146944)

"I'll assume they're adding a day"

Unfortunately, its software sounds like it could have stored that day byte (or some other data), somewhere is shouldn't have ... just as well it wasn't in the fire a mission flag byte ... or worse still, the ejector seat flag byte.

Re:Overflow (1)

MindKata (957167) | more than 7 years ago | (#18146980)

doh ... missile, not mission ... I think I have a bug.

Re:Overflow (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147016)

The problem probably isn't with the time change. Airplanes use GMT so the local time doesn't matter. The problem is probably related to the longitude going from W179.99 degrees to E180 degrees.

Not the first time this bug has shown up. (4, Informative)

sbaker (47485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147204)

You'd think they'd have learned from this one:

        http://www.f20a.com/f20ins.htm [f20a.com]

Fixed (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147286)

Well, whatever the issue - which is probably something similar to what you suspect - it's now fixed. Here's the transcript from CNN this morning. Since the F-22 is fly-by-wire, it's also worth pointing out that all systems didn't crash, else these F-22s would be sitting in the Pacific. I've no doubt it affected navigation, communications, and similar subsystems, and was probably related to physical location in terms of time, position over the Earth, or both, given the nature of the issue.

>> 25 Years from development to deployment, the F-22 Raptor is the most advanced fighting machine in the air. It was no match for a computer glitch that left six of them high above the pacific ocean, deaf, dumb, and blind as they headed to their first deployment. So what happened? We turn to a man that's at home in the cockpit. Retired Air Force General Don Shepperd. Let me set the scene, Don. These F-22s, headed from the Air Force base in Hawaii to an Air Force base in Japan. They were approaching the international date line, pick it up from there.

>> You got it right. You want everything to go right with the frontline fighter. $125, 135 Million a copy. The F-22 raptor is our frontline fighter, air defense, air superiority, and it can drop bombs. It is stealthy and fast. You want it to go right. On the international deployment to the pacific, it didn't. At the international date line, whoops. All systems dumped. When i say all systems I mean all systems, navigation, part of the communications, fuel systems, and they were -- they could have been in real trouble. They were with their tankers. The tankers -- tried to reset their systems. Couldn't get them reset. Tankers brought them back to Hawaii. This could have been real serious. Certainly could have been real serious if the weather had been bad. Turned out okay. Fixed in 48 hours. It was a computer glitch in the millions of lines of code; somebody made an error in a couple lines of the code and everything goes.

>> This is almost like the feared Y2K problem that happened to these aircraft. We should point out, the computer problems in 2000. The computers absolutely went absolutely haywire and became useless?

>> Absolutely. When you think of airplanes from the old days, with cables and that type of thing and connects between the sticks and the yokes and the controls -- not that way anymore. Everything is by computer. When your computers go the airplanes go. You have multiple systems. When they all dump at the same time, you can be in real trouble. Luckily this turned out okay.

>> What would have happened if these brand-new $120 million F-22s had been going into battle?

>> You would have been in real trouble in the middle of combat. The good thing is we found this out. Any time -- before, you know, before we get into combat with an airplane like this. Any time you introduce a new airplane, you are going to find glitches, and you are going to find things that go wrong. It happens in our civilian airliners. You don't hear much about it. These things absolutely happen. And luckily had time we found out about it before combat. We got it fixed with tiger teams in about 48 hours and the airplanes were flying again, and completed the deployment. This could have been real serious in combat.

>> You had these advanced air -- not just superiority but air supremacy fighters in there, up there in the air, above the Pacific Ocean, not much more sophisticated than a Cessna 152 with a jet engine?

>> You got it. They are on a 15-hour flight from Hawaii to Okinawa. When all their systems dumped, they needed help. Had they gotten separated from their tankers or weather gotten bad they had no reference and no communications or navigation. They would have turned around and could have found the Hawaiian Islands. If the weather had been bad on approach there could have been real trouble. You get refueling from your tankers and you don't run -- you don't get yourself where you run out of fuel. You always have enough fuel and refueling nine, ten, 12 times like this. Where you can get somewhere to land. But again, attitude reference and navigation are essential as this communication. In this case all of that was affected. It was a serious problem.

>> The fact the computers run so much of the systems on the aircraft, is the -- is the military at risk of over-engineering here so if they did have a problem like that when they were going into a hostile situation they could be, as you said, repeatedly in real trouble?

>> Well, you have redundant systems. It is the fact of life. In the modern computer age. By the way you are going to have the same problem coming up on your laptop computer as we conferred from -- from standard time from daylight savings time to standard time. Your program -- your computer is programmed for one thing and we have changed the dates and you are going to have a problem and it will have to be dealt with.

>> Do me a favor. Make sure i'm not on my laptop computer when i'm flying in an F-22 on that day.

>> Absolutely.

>> Appreciate it. Thank you, sir.

Re:Overflow (2, Funny)

nicknack (123089) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147288)

in other news: Lockheed Martin has decided to open it's sources and announce a bug-athon
check out https://repo.airforge.gov/raptor/ [airforge.gov]

but don't everyone look at once - you'll slashdot the server.

Moderation? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147502)

Why do you guys give +5 to someone who doesn't know for sure how the date line works, and who merely looked up which SI prefix was small enough to cause a 64-bit overflow? Most likely the bug has to do with overflow in position, not time. Even assuming this has to do with time overflow, modern GPS electronics can only measure signals to within 10 nanosecond. Using femtoseconds (10,000,000x smaller) is complete BS to make his argument work.

I've been wondering... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18146908)

Hey Slashdot, why are PC users such ugly dweebs [imageshack.us] in comparison to Mac users [imageshack.us] ? Is it because nobody has the time or patience to put up with Windows/Linux except for friendless, sexless nerds like you?

Re:I've been wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18146928)

Yes. Of course you're right. :-p

I've been wondering where people like you get your energy from?

Re:I've been wondering... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18146972)

Is it because nobody has the time or patience to put up with Windows/Linux except for friendless, sexless nerds like you?

You obviously aren't to far from the crowd that you've unfairly and wrongly stereotyped if you've got time to post to Slashdot in the first five minutes of a new post and felt the need to take a precious 2 minutes away all your sex-orgies and circle jerks with your friends to point this out.

Chris

Re:I've been wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18146976)

That's one of the ugliest women I have ever seen, and she's your postergirl for Macs? Good for you, you can keep her.

Re:I've been wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147236)

I bet you think Pamela Anderson is hot, don't you? Ugh.

Re:I've been wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18146986)

I've been wondering what kind of sexless dweeb thinks that girl who uses an Mac is hot.

Mac users with low standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18146994)

I find it odd you find that mac user so attractive... Shes got that ugly whore look going on (too much makeup and wtf is with the hair). Maybe Mac users have lower standards when it comes to what they find attractive?

Re:I've been wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147044)

We have a description for women like that you know, it's called "warpig".

Real redundancy (4, Interesting)

chriss (26574) | more than 7 years ago | (#18146946)

As far as I remember the Space Shuttle not only has redundant computer systems, but also redundant software, i.e. the software has been developed twice to ensure that software bugs don't cause a catastrophe. I'd prefer to know that systems capable of carrying weapons which can kill hundreds of thousands of people were designed with the same safety in mind.

Re:Real redundancy (0)

trelanexiph (605826) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147008)

err, you're assuming the f-22 is slated to carry nuclear weapons. In fact the radiation from these weapons will defeat the stealth technology.

Re:Real redundancy (5, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147066)

The F-22 can carry the standard USAF air delivered nuclear weapon as maintained within the US military arsenal today, either one internal or two external. The radiation from the weapons has no effect on the stealth, either before or after detonation (the stealth capability involved is an advanced form of that used on the B-2 and B-1B bombers, both of which were at their inception designed to be purely nuclear armed bombers).

Re:Real redundancy (1)

slightcrazed (973882) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147438)

I didn't think that the F-22 had external mounts?

Re:Real redundancy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147154)

What are you trying to say--that the radiation from the weapon is detectable at a significant distance? This, of course, makes no sense since the radiation emitted from the material in the bombs, like sunlight, falls in intensity proportional to 1/r^2. If the radiation is not high enough to kill the pilot at 3 m or so then it is not going to be detectable at 10 km.

On the other hand, if you are trying to say that if the pilot detonates the nuclear weapon (either while attached to his plane or released normally) then stealth has been defeated. In the former case, if the airplane survives then it probably won't need to worry about stealth technologies. In the latter case, well, mission accomplished.

Re:Real redundancy (1, Troll)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147312)

If the radiation is not high enough to kill the pilot at 3 m or so then it is not going to be detectable at 10 km.

      Er... You're saying that because I can see the moon, people who've walked on the moon should have been killed? Or because I can see lights from the next town over, I shouldn't go to the next town over?

      Lethality and detectability are drastically different things. Admittedly, my eyes are tremendously sensitive, whereas the lethality of visible light is *not* high. However, detectors are available which are *very* sensitive to all sorts of radiations, primary, secondary, and of higher orders. Besides which, many radiations (thermal neutrons, for example) undergo more of a diffusion process, which means that the 1/r^2 falloff isn't applicable.

Re:Real redundancy (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147024)

I'd prefer to know that systems capable of carrying weapons which can kill hundreds of thousands of people were designed with the same safety in mind.

nope!

No guarantee (1)

Goonie (8651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147034)

What you're talking about is called N-version programming. It's no guarantee of reliability, unfortunately. Often, the "bug" is related to mistakes in the program specification, not the implementation of that specification. Therefore, the same bug gets faithfully and correctly implemented twice.

Re:Real redundancy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147050)

the raptor is a fighter. the most is can kill is a coupla dozen. its a non critical platform. lose a raptor and you lose what...2 2000lb bombs and a coupla air to air missiles ?
now if it was a B2 carrying nukes it might be a cause for concern. the shuttle is hugely expensive compared to the raptor and they spend nearly $10mil every year in ensuring the software is perfect. fighters dont get much software development time.

Re:Real redundancy (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147144)

Airbus has taken that to the extreme - their first fly-by-wire aircraft, the A320 has eight independently developed software and hardware systems which must agree. If any one of them computes a different result than the others it is restarted once and disabled if it happens again (and obviously the incident is recorded for maintenance to report). They increased the number to 32 in the A380.

And just to preemptively debunk bullshit that is always brought up when someone mentions Airbus and computers on slashdot - i.e. the Mulhouse-Habsheim crash of which we've all seen the famous video and which according to the conspiracy theories was caused by a software bug and thus quite an incident since it was the first digital fly-by-wire passenger aircraft (the Concorde was analog fly-by-wire) - at least try to get your conspiracy theory right: If there was a bug in the software, it was the FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control), which failed and that was nothing new. FADEC is pretty much the equivalent of automatic transmission in a car and was common at the time already (in other aircraft as well) and thus (unlike the FBW system) not deliberately programmed to override the pilot (other than to ensure that the engine stays within its correct operating parameters). Any aviation professional can look at the video and tell that the fly-by-wire system was certainly functioning perfectly since you can see the control surfaces well enough. There has never been a crash in which there would be any reason to suspect the Airbus FBW system (well, there have only been five fatal A320s crashes and the rest of their FBW aircraft have zero pax fatality records).

Re:Real redundancy (5, Interesting)

spagetti_code (773137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147276)

Actually, the space shuttle is not a good example.

NASA do not fly the space shuttle during 31 Dec -> 1 Jan [newscientist.com] as
they are not confident of what would happen. Better just
to avoid the problem.

That was one of the pressures to getting the Dec 2k6 flight off the ground.

Re:Real redundancy (5, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147458)

"NASA do not fly the space shuttle during 31 Dec -> 1 Jan"

But they fly over the international date-line every 90 minutes or so with no problems :).

Re:Real redundancy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147574)

NASA do not fly the space shuttle during 31 Dec -> 1 Jan as they are not confident of what would happen.

Nah, this rule is in place simply because NASA throws a really wild New Years Party and no one wants to miss it.

Re:Real redundancy (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147530)

I worked as a software engineer on the Space Station for 5 years. I did not specifically work on Shuttle, but you get to know the systems and people, and I never heard anything about shuttle having two sets of redundantly implemented software. More, being very familiar with the test and verification procedures that NASA uses it is hard for me to imagine that a system with 2 operational software packages would ever get through the all of the DCMA and QA approvals needed for flight verification (imagine how many permutations of failure->recovery situations would be possible). Bottom line, I don't think it is true that shuttle has redundant software packages.

crash narrowly averted (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18146982)

CNN television, however, this morning reported that every fighter completely lost all navigation and communications when they crossed the international date line.

I've heard of a software glitch causing a crash before, but this is ridiculous.

Re:crash narrowly averted (2, Informative)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147060)

I've heard of a software glitch causing a crash before, but this is ridiculous.

Not really - read the Risks-Forum Digest [ncl.ac.uk] , especially the earlier years, and you'll find that software quite often causes physical harm.

No UHF backup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147014)

The F-22 doesn't have a UHF radio backup? I know they want to cut down the EM missions for stealth, but you think they pilots would still have an independently powered emergency radio.

Re:No UHF backup? (1)

devilspgd (652955) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147584)

You'd think -- Stealth isn't a factor either, just turn the thing off when it's not in use, give the pilot a switch to enable it.

I doubt they lost communication... (1)

sonofagunn (659927) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147028)

I find it hard to believe that they would have lost all communication from a software glitch like this. Things like radios, compasses, radars, etc surely still worked. Hopefully this just crashed a navigation system and left the pilots able to fly the plane using conventional navigation techniques. If it brought down everything else, that's a serious design flaw, not just a bug.

Re:I doubt they lost communication... (2, Interesting)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147150)

I really doubt such an advanced (and stealth) aircraft would have any "traditional" radio capabilities that could easily be intercepted. If the encryption is written such that the position of an aircraft matters, they may have no communication channel at all.

That said, I'm not sure how this bug would have escaped QA. I mean, it's an airplane. Hundreds of commercial jets fly over that line day in and day out, as do other American military planes. I wonder if the bug also exists at the Prime Meridian?

I hate to imagine what the software patch process is like on a jet. I doubt you can just ssh in and run an svn up ;-)

Re:I doubt they lost communication... (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147402)

duh!

you plug it into a PC and click on and .exe file!!!

Re:I doubt they lost communication... (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147558)

They probably do have a traditional radio in order to communicate with civilian aircraft and aircraft control when necessary. Plus, I would assume they have a battery-powered hand-held radio for emergency situations just like this. From the CNN story says the tankers were trying to help solve the problem, which indicates to me that the pilots were at least able to communicate what had happened.

Re:I doubt they lost communication... (1)

abradsn (542213) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147158)

Dude, those planes carry full on CRAY (or other brand) super computers in them. They need them for communication, weapons, enemy identification, and geographic location. That's their purpose. Communications aren't done through simple radio communication. It's encrypted and probably bounces off of satellites. Also, I bet those buggers are slighly harder to fly with no computers working onboard.

Not to worry though, they likely have the best pilots in the world flying billion dollar planes. Pilots like that, could probably fly a piece of cardboard over the Atlantic ocean.

Re:I doubt they lost communication... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147252)

Your ignorance is baffling.

Re:I doubt they lost communication... (1)

nbehary (140745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147298)

"radios, compasses, radars, etc...."

I'd guess, standard radio, yes....compass, i'd hope not, but maybe it's all digital (display-wise) on them, maybe not.....radar....i doubt. In a jet that advanced, the radar is probably intimately tied to the computer.

If they only had radio and tankers nearby....yes, they could have been seriously screwed if there were bad weather......

Re:I doubt they lost communication... (2, Insightful)

theEteam (1064762) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147328)

In most modern aircraft, control for all avionics equipment is done through a central mission computer. If that computer crashes(usually there are two but they have identical software), all avionics will be unavailable. This includes radar, navigation, most radios, etc. Usually there is a backup RCU(remote control unit) for one of the radios and of course you can still steer, but that is about it.

Re: I doubt they lost communication... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147330)

> I find it hard to believe that they would have lost all communication from a software glitch like this.

Didn't we have a story a couple of years ago saying that the entire system was designed to reboot during flight?

Re:I doubt they lost communication... (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147366)

Just because a sub-system didn't crash, doesn't mean that the pilot can operate them without the system that did crash, for example the crashed machine may have been responsible for running the displays and controls to the sub-systems. These guys are probably lucky they didn't lose the fly-by-wire.

I would not want to be him. (1)

m0biusAce (899230) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147030)

Someone is going to get fired for this.

Re:I would not want to be him. (4, Funny)

Simon Garlick (104721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147256)

Someone is going to get fired for this.

Welcome to defense contracting, you must be new here.

Re:I would not want to be him. (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147320)

The programmer, the code reviewer/tester, the manager or the guy who invented international dateline?

Re:I would not want to be him. (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147346)

You seem to be unfamiliar with how government contracts work. Someone got a promotion for this because someone is going to have to shell out some money to get this fixed I'm sure.

Don't worry (4, Funny)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147036)

We will happily sell y'all Eurofighters. Half the price, twice the bombs... and who the hell do you need stealth to fight anyway? Expecting the France to try and invasion any day now or something?

Re:Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147168)

You ever heard of a surface to air missile? Many of those are radar guided. Stealth is a Good Thing.

Not to mention that the only decent fighters Europe have ever created were all WWII era...

Re:Don't worry (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147202)

I'd be interested to see your cite that the US have lost more than a very small number of aircraft to radar guided SAMs since Vietnam - and MANPADS aren't a big problem for high flying interceptors.

Re:Don't worry (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147190)

We can't afford to loose too many airplanes, seeing as we're going to start at least nine more wars before GWB is out of office...NK, Iran, China, Sudan, Russia, rest of Middle East, rest of Asia, rest of Africa, Mexico and the rest of (South) America (Canada too?)

Now if only the whole world went on American time, we could finish saving the world. Sheesh.

Re:Don't worry (2, Insightful)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147270)

Actually not really. The Eurofighters have very limited air to ground functionality at least until Block 5 hits sometime in late 2007. It was expected in 2005 but per usual, was very behind. The F-22 can carry two 1000 lb JDAM internally (or 8 GBU-39s) for a total of 2000 lbs of internal weapons and up to 5000 lbs of external weapons on four (two per wing) removable hard points (two of which are plumbed for fuel).

We won't even go into the fact that the F-22 is faster with a full weapons load and much faster at both high and low altitudes when fitted with a typical combat load, has a much longer range (up to 2x with combat load), the F-22 also has a superior thrust to weight ratio, has a higher reliablity rate (97% to 86%),

Re:Don't worry (1)

wirelessbuzzers (552513) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147370)

who the hell do you need stealth to fight anyway?

I would guess North Korea. Sure, we outclass North Korea pretty badly anyway, but they do have plenty of fighters and SAMs, and stealth can't hurt there.

There are also highly developed states that are less friendly to the US than France. Like China, for instance. Of course, in the unlikely event of a war with china, we'll probably just nuke each other into oblivion.

Re:Don't worry (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147510)

China only has a few hundred nuclear weapons, and only 25-50 ICBMs. By the time a war starts with China, it may be up by another two dozen or so through SLBMs, but China's nuclear arsenal is a pittance compared to that of the US.

Re:Don't worry (1)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147524)

Why mention France? They didn't have anything to do with the Eurofigher, instead focusing on the Rafale, which in nearly every category can barely compete with the F-18E Super Hornet and latest block F-16's...

Re:Don't worry (1)

abradsn (542213) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147564)

China is very friendly with the U.S. We owe them like a trillion dollars. On top of that we are their biggest consumer. As long as the stand to benefit that greatly from us, they will continue to do so. But ignoring that, China also has no real insertion capability. Basically, no air craft carriers, or real naval threat to speak of. On top of that, they might have a large army, but they are currently under-trained and have not been involved in a war for quite a while. Their technology currently lags, behind just about everyone and that is meaningful.

Of course things change. I'll just wait and read what the slashdot future beholds.

Re:Don't worry (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147528)

who the hell do you need stealth to fight anyway?

It's a secret. That's why it's stealth, sheesh. :)

Re:Don't worry (1)

TopSpin (753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147590)

We will happily sell y'all Eurofighters...
 
...and who the hell do you need stealth to fight anyway?

Why not ask the Eurofighter folks; they claim some degree of stealth design.

Stealth increases the difficulty of detecting a war plane. Whomever acquires the enemy first has a large advantage. All modern military aircraft must at least consider observability; this is hardly unique to the F-22.

Expecting the France to try and invasion any day now or something?

If history is any teacher, F-22s will be used to defend France.

Source code... (4, Funny)

alexhs (877055) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147042)

That's the real reason why they don't want to give source code to foreign armies... They don't want to be covered in shame :)

Re:Source code... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147146)

Well that must be the reason, because the other reasons are totally ludicrous.

Australia, who has totally sold themselves out to US contractors (look at what happened to the F/A18 production line), can't buy the F22. The UK, who are about the only people still allied tightly to the US, aren't being given decent access to technology transfer on the JSF program.

UK contractors can't move UK staff to the US to work on join UK/Us projects without dealing with stunning levels of bullshit. Even where technology has originated in the UK the US refuses to let incremental improvements be transfered back.

It wouldn't really be going too far to call the US defense establishment the Microsoft of the defense world. Ok, so the others aren't exactly great, but to give you one specific example of why they are much worse than the others:

Most planes end up with modification packages. Normal. On most planes these are designed so that unless a mod package directly requires another mod then putting them both on is optional - you could add, say, FLIR but not JDAM.

US planes on the other hand are designed so that in order to put on mod 2 you need mod 1. In order to put on mod 5 you need 4,3,2 and 1. Fitters working in Saudi on F15s described bemusement at some of the extra, apparently useless, wiring that was being added with a mod... until the next one was released when it turned out that this wire in the radio loom was required for an ECU mod, just to make sure that it was impossible to skip one and save money. Once you are in, you stay in and keep spending.

first post to say.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147048)

.. maybe its running Vista?

Re:first post to say.. (5, Funny)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147162)

Sure, but it seems they turned Aero off..

UTC (3, Insightful)

Excelcia (906188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147052)

The answer to all these problems is very simple. For any mission critical application, use UTC and only UTC. No time zones, no date line, no converting. If the software isn't even aware of the concept of date/time localization, then it's not going to run into problems.

Oh, and while they're at it, standardize on metric too. Maybe we can save our interstellar probes at the same time we are saving our warplanes.

Re:UTC (4, Informative)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147112)

They probably already do... When I was spending time in uniform, all our (non-workstation) computers did all their work in GMT, anyway. And considering it was the navigation systems that crashed, I think the "international date line" thing is spurious - the problem was more likely going from W to E, not today to yesterday.

Re:UTC (1)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147476)

I think the "international date line" thing is spurious - the problem was more likely going from W to E, not today to yesterday.

Ummmm, maybe I'm missing what you mean, but crossing the date line from West to East jumps you forward 25 hours.

It's most certainly not today to yesterday, It's today to tommorrow, or if you cross the line at around midnight, it's today to the day after tommorrow. I don't think the international date line thing is spurious, if you cross it from West to East, you jump forward quite a way.

All that said, I find it absolutely incredible that, so soon after the big kerfuffle around Y2K, any time critical software is not developed to take these scenarios into account. Completely ridiculous.

Then again. maybe the official line is that the crashes were caused by the date line, but the real reason was Vista's DRM features wreaking havoc with the nav systems. You only believe they don't use Vista on these things because that's what they want you to believe. Think about it, what other OS would these brillant minds put in an "Aero"-plane?

Ridiculous

Re:UTC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147594)

"Then again. maybe the official line is that the crashes were caused by the date line, but the real reason was Vista's DRM features wreaking havoc with the nav systems. You only believe they don't use Vista on these things because that's what they want you to believe. Think about it, what other OS would these brillant minds put in an "Aero"-plane?"

Can I buy pot from you?

Reminds me of the Bismarck (5, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147054)

The Bismarck battleship had a bug also: when the main turrets would fire, the aiming radars would be disabled. That's no joke when you're in the midst of a battle and everyone of those large caliber shells counts. As I understand, the radars would be disabled by the vibrations of the turret cannons firing. Not a software bug, but bug nonetheless, and you do wonder how did this battleship pass testing.

Re:Reminds me of the Bismarck (1)

TransEurope (889206) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147290)

Since the german navy never counted on radar on their ships (because our radar was not so good developed at this time) in WW2, but used optical aiming devices once a enemy was in sight, that was not a problem. The Nazis never realized what advantage the radar technique was, and so they never invested many resources to make it widely available in the german forces.

Re:Reminds me of the Bismarck (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147356)

It didn't, it sank on its maiden voyage.

Data types, it isn't rocket science! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147062)

All times should be represnted as integer, generally 64-bit integers. How complicated is that? If you do it that way, time always moves forward and the only place where you have to deal with the complexities of time zones is right at the very end when you're get to the rendering of the View phase, or during input.

From a 1970s children's song about time: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147074)

"The International Date Line - It makes time so strange."

Re:From a 1970s children's song about time: (2, Interesting)

kabloom (755503) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147208)

Yes. When Jews cross the dateline, we don't [star-k.org] know [koltorah.org] what day it is anymore, much to the consternation of those of us who may need to travel to Japan or Hawaii.

Gotta know your limitations... (5, Informative)

TigerNut (718742) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147076)

When I worked at a high end civilian GPS equipment manufacturer, we had a test department where, among other things, a complete list of "special" dates and locations were kept on file. Any new position solution software release was regression tested against all previously known and guessed potential date/time rollovers, as well as making sure that motion across geographic coordinate boundaries didn't cause erratic behavior. Obviously whoever supplied the inertial navigation solution for the F22 hasn't quite gotten there yet... Testing in the lab is cheap. Burning a couple of tons of Jet-A and putting a bunch of people at risk is not.

Some exaggeration in the story, I suspect (5, Informative)

CardinalPilot (1057108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147078)

The F-22 has a fly-by-wire control system. If there really were a crash of ALL on-board computer systems, communication and navigation would not have been the most immediate concerns!

Design? Lack of foresight? (4, Insightful)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147092)

Assuming it WAS a time issue upon crossing the International Dateline...

Design problem? Why should navigation software require "local time"? They knew they were crossing the international dateline, so they must be linked to GPS timing systems... why not just use GPS' universal time? (Sure, you want local time eventually for your displays but that's a "view" calculation, not one intrinsic to the navigation software)

Bug tracking problem? Did the testers not think of testing about a time zone change? Did they assume the above that everything would be on a universal time and therefore didn't see the need for crossing time zones?

Why wasn't this a stock reusable code module in Lockheed Martin's labs?!?

(And for a media look at this issue, check out the anime Geneshaft or the movie The Pentagon Wars)

Re:Design? Lack of foresight? (1)

wkk2 (808881) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147148)

I would assume they were using UT which shouldn't have a problem at the dateline. Maybe it was the longitude sign change.

Were they running Windows? (4, Funny)

pestilence669 (823950) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147106)

I just want to know if this is in any way connected to the nuclear subs that lost navigation after they switched to Microsoft Windows based software. Generally, when this kind of thing happens, some external vendor is to blame.

Ironically (5, Funny)

mbrod (19122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147114)

A few days ago reading up on good C++ coding techniques I came across Stroustrup's (creator of C++) page citing the coding rules used [att.com] when working on the Joint Strike Fighter [wikipedia.org] . Reading through the various rules used, this one caught my attention:

AV Rule 25 (MISRA Rule 127)
The time handling functions of library <time.h> shall not be used.

I got to thinking if we had any decent alternatives (at least in C++). And yes there are alternatives and all of them looked equally bad to me. Looks like the F22 guys might have had the same problem finding and using a robust fault tolerant time library.

Re:Ironically (2, Interesting)

Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147416)

With the inertial navigation systems I work with, time stamping of data is very important. Clocks that are accurate down to nanoseconds aren't uncommon, synching with GPS 1-PPS signals (1 pulse per second) to determine and correct clock drift per inertial sensor read cycle, etc. Timing systems are usually custom built for the product in question as part of the design.

I call bull... (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147132)

but it is a nice story anyway.

Er what? (3, Insightful)

chanrobi (944359) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147170)

Are you telling me that the F-22 has no analog backup flight system? For gosh sakes even the F-16 has a similar system. A cursory google search that the F-22 is equipped with an "LN-100G Inertial Navigation System with Embedded GPS". It sounds incredible that the summary implies that the only way they would've made it home was via formation flying with a tanker? Can anyone with more detailed information on the F-22 clarify?

Re:Er what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147520)

"Good men and women died on this ship because someone
wanted a faster computer to make life easier."

Clearly this was a Cylon attack.

Re:Er what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147548)

Cool, I've got an LN100G also! Took me a little while to get the communications to it working properly. I think mine had a software bug. I could watch the tenths of seconds count up. Normally when they reach 0x09, they would roll back 0x00 and increment the second. However, occassionaly it would count up 0x0e before resetting. I showed the problem to some guys as Northrop, but it didn't go anywhere.

It didn't crash... (1)

fragreaper (1043904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147174)

It didn't crash, a worm just caused a popup to appear infront of the navigation software, rendering it useless! But don't worry, I hear USDOD SP1 disables the service that is prone to this!

So... (4, Funny)

WaZiX (766733) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147192)

So, when is Service Pack 1 coming out?

Thanks to the foresight of the Eurofighters... (1)

TransEurope (889206) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147194)

...enineers, this women found back to the ladies parkings.
http://www.bmlv.gv.at/pool/img/231002.jpg [bmlv.gv.at]
Look at the upper right of the avionics, there are the backup analogue instruments for navigation.

Actual dialog message... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147218)

You are flying to Japan, Cancel or Allow?

Nominate! Nominate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147308)

I hearby nominate those pilots for the "Beta Tester of the Year" Award!

I would say that that makes each of them a Master Beta, but I shall refrain from doing so.

F16 Software had similar problems (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147332)

When F16s crossed the equator, the computer would roll the aircraft 180 degrees and fly inverted:

http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/3.44.html [ncl.ac.uk]

Microsoft? (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147384)

every fighter completely lost all navigation and communications when they crossed the international date line.
Where do you want to go today?

Correct Story? (2, Informative)

shields020 (969843) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147388)

Last time I checked, the F-22 is not a new plane...are we referring to the new Joint-Strike Fighter, or are we actually speaking about the F-22 that's been publicly known about since the mid-nineties?

Bad news or good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147394)

Assuming that this is accurate (below) it does at least indicate that the navigation programming is quite independent of the basic flight-control programming. That plane, like the F-16 and F-15, is only stable with the control system in the loop. So part of the architecture/methodology seems to have worked.

I'm skeptical of the problem report, though, because of the famous problem the F-16 was said to have had crossing the equator: the plane thought it was upside down. I read that this was not caught in flight, but in the test lab, but either way it's famous and it's hard for me to believe that the IDL problem got past them. And if it did, it's probably not the change in date that messed things up but the discontinuity from high west longitude to high east longitude. (The equator problem would be a continuous switch from positive latitude to negative.)

I think (1)

Headw1nd (829599) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147426)

The council will have some serious questions for Gaius Baltar about this.

READ: Get Ready For More (4, Interesting)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147462)

I tried posting this on several sites but on March 11th [wikipedia.org] , when the new daylight savings [wikipedia.org] regime kicks in for the first time there will probably be a lot of Java applications that will start having data issues because the latest Java version IS NOT BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE for several three character time codes that have bee removed. Several codes have been deprecated in a way that is not backwards compatible. I could be wrong about the severity, but for he last two weeks my software team has been dealing with this issue and the interaction between Oracle and Java.

Re:READ: Get Ready For More (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147546)

No different than fixing bugs that show up when users start switching from Administrator on XP to limited User on Vista. Solution is simple. Stick with the old version of Java, unless you decide it's time to upgrade, then you fix any problems that would develop from the upgrade.

Where Does The Article Mention the Underlying O/S? (0, Flamebait)

BSDetector (1056962) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147512)

I think the infantile comments of the typical Slashdotters regarding Microsoft are so incredibly typical. I would doubt that the underlying O/S would be any off-the-shelf commercial or Open Source system.

Can't someone here "moderate" those immature comments? Or are only comments that point out this immaturity the ones that get "moderated"?

Re:Where Does The Article Mention the Underlying O (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18147580)

You would be really surprised (and shocked) to know how many places off-the-shelf commercial or open source systems are used. Think governments, military, airlines, etc.

It's so scary, you better not think about it too much.

Easy fix ..... (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147536)

just fly the other way around ....

Google Maps related problem (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18147576)

Well, a related problem shows up when drawing lines on a Google-Map.

I wanted to allow users to split a segment of a poly-line in two halfs, with the click of the mouse.

It's quite tedious to take this case (switching between negative and positive longitude) into account. But it's really not a lot of code. And it really is an integral part of the problem. See upcoming version of stephansmap.org; look at the javascript.

Stephan
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?