Thank you for a very valuable post. It makes others realize how difficult the job actually is and why even minor changes take years to complete and verify. No wonder JFT took 4 years for Block 3 to get clearance before building a prototype.I some times just sit quietly reading all the “ambitious” project goals that people celebrate. The issue is that most laymen are fimiliar with the development and release cycle of civil tech gadgets like cellphones, since the development to release cycle is usual in months, they then start inferring aero space timelines from it.
The bitter truth is, as I had seen in aerospace software and systems I worked on, the development cycles are slow and take their time to complete even if you are starting from a certified and matured baseline (i.e not from scratch). Even those timelines we always estimated in years before giving something to the OEM, and the OEM itself (like bombardier, agusta etc) would take their own time via flight tests to fully certify. There was a control surface stabilizers’ control unit SW that I was leading for SW development, and just the SW changes we had to complete before certifying with 10-15 team members was turning into 1-1.5 years - and mind you the SW and Sys dev was ongoing from another certified baseline for a couple of years before I came to the team. The Mechanical team was itself in a mess trying to solve a certain problem identified in the design during flight test (a certain failure mode was dormant but got detected in some conditions) - Long story short with a change in mechanical design would require new control SW development and testing again! And we never use cutting edge technology in these products, we use old time tested and mature methodologies to build these systems and they take their very sweet time to meet safety critical requirements.
The bottom line is T129 is in dire straits for the next 5-6 years till the Turks get a new engine certified to use on the project and then PAA test it in Pakistan again. Add 3 more years to get inducted and you are looking at 2028-2030 if at all.Hi at the end can anybody post something about ATAK129 instead of discussing ucav though there should be a dedicated thread for discussing UCAV