Yup, I had to go there. And when you see the headline ‘F-35 program seeks cyber reinforcements’ you might go there too. Now, you need to know that there is nothing wrong with the article that can be found (at https://fcw.com/defense/2022/02/f-35-program-office-seeks-cyber-reinforcements/361848/). Yet the quote given to us 2 days ago “To improve the joint strike fighters’ defences against cyber attacks, the program office responsible for it wants an open system design solution” implies there is close to nothing, all whilst this danger was out in the open for some time, so why react this late? And when we are given “the program office responsible for the aircraft is looking to create a multi-phased process that would enhance the security of F-35’s – and supporting ground systems – through newly developed or integrated technologies, such as real-time, automated in-flight detection, response and recovery” concerns should be raised. You see that dinky toy (the F-35) is not the cheapest of all Corgi toys, so something should have been in place already. The issue is not that simple, I get that. To take a more Cisco stage of expression. Every plane will need a router that has SecureX platform, Secure Firewall, Secure Endpoint and connects to the ground in a similar way and does it in real time, not the easiest of tasks and in this the real-time part will be the hardest to get working. A system that can interact with every system.
As I personally see it (see image), it is a setting that has a number of points (like hardware points) for fire solutions, navigation, weapons systems and the security station. It cannot check all, but each system has its own header, and the headers check each other, so if one is hacked the others fix the one hacked and the system is back on tour, there is no guarantee that this will work, but hacking one system is one thing, hacking all 5 becomes virtually impossible. And there is another problem, such a system will need online load balancing. Not online like we know online, but a system that is always checking the load balance of every header station and as this is all done in real time will require an upgrade of hardware, because there is no way that the added electronics will not have an impact on current efficiency numbers and with the costs already way out of proportions, I have no idea how this gets passed the budget committee and even if they get some kind of new Cisco device (which is one of the leading cyber authorities) the hardware will not come cheap and it will require a new OS to make it work. I wonder if relaunching ADA would be a solution. It would be allowing one of ADA strengths to be deployed and if the NSA can boost the security and it is implemented with a newer version of Cisco Cyber Constructs, there is a decent chance it might work but all this requires specialists working together and in the IT field that is almost a challenge on its own (like making a submarine fly). So I have no idea where it all will end, but taking into consideration that the expected acquisition costs is set to $406.5 billion, with total lifetime cost (i.e., to 2070) to $1.5 trillion in then-year dollars, and the cyber equation will ramp up costs by another 10% (rough estimation) and my estimation is set to the fact that it is smooth sailing, but that has never been the case so there is every chance that the F-35 will break all records, including cost to produce.
That is my mere speculative thought in the equation that the FCW brought to light.