When the F-22 was being designed by Lockheed Martin for the Air force back in the technological stone ages of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the computing industry had not yet moved to what is now known as open architecture -- the ability to connect numerous, interoperable devices from different developers.
So the F-22 got a Lockheed Martin developed system that no one else has the tools to upgrade but, you guessed it, Lockheed. Now, according to Defense News, the Air Force wants to change that.
By introducing an open architecture to one of the world's most tightly knit proprietary systems, service officials hope to make it much cheaper and easier to insert new technology - even gear developed for the F-35 Lightning II - into the stealthy air-superiority fighter.
"This jet has a very highly integrated avionics system. Because of that tight coupling and that highly integrated nature, it makes it very difficult, and we are highly reliant upon [Raptor makers] Lockheed Martin and Boeing to do any kinds of modifications to the jet," said David Weber, deputy director of the F-22 System Program Office (SPO) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
Weber said the open-architecture effort is meant to allow the Air Force to open upgrade work to competition.
Today, he said, "the architecture is proprietary to Lockheed Martin, and we're kinda stuck with Lockheed Martin when we want to integrate something new."