Combat in the clouds requires a high degree of maneuverability, meaning the faster a fighter jet can move away from its trimmed state, the better. To do this the jet’s center of gravity must be shoved back making it inherently unstable and necessitating the need for high-powered onboard computers to continually manage the plane’s basic controls.
Despite cost overruns and the constant cloud of political cacophony that surrounds it, the F-35 Lightning is quite literally a flying super computer. The plane collects data from multiple onboard sensors using a supersonic fiber network and uses it to inform the flight computer and the pilot of what’s happening, along with a sophisticated payload caluclating software, and another that monitors the jet’s components.
Despite everything the “most complex military weapon in military history” is capable of, Ford claims the GT’s 25 onboard computers running 10 million lines of software code is more than what Lockheed uses to run the F-35.
Real-time information comes in from the pedals, steering wheel, and rear wing, along with additional measurements like air humidity and sunshine levels, all of which the system processes and analyzes at a rate of 300 MB per second.
This allows the car’s brain to continuously adjust engine characteristics, stability control, suspension damping, and active aerodynamics for optimal performance, according to Drive Mode selection. Meaning, much like a modern fighter jet, the Ford GT is desperately dependent on algorithms in order to achieve absurd performance levels that shouldn’t be possible.
“The Ford GT’s sophisticated computing systems work hand-in-hand with the vehicle’s core race car architecture to enhance performance, and also deliver greater versatility and flexibility,” said Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director.
“By constantly monitoring inputs, vehicle loads and environment, and adjusting the car’s profile and responses to suit, the Ford GT remains as responsive and stable 300 km/h as it is at 30 km/h.”
But it’s not all race car; other data streams are used in the name of comfort and convenience–be it Ford’s SYNC 3 software or the automatic climate control–because 1000 eventual customers will have to live with these cars after all.
Ford also boasts the GT features a set of retractable aluminum cup holders–for reduced weight, naturally– that are hidden within the center console, a feature you certainly won’t find on an F-35.
“We developed the Ford GT road car and race car side-by-side, and that led to some creative engineering, such as the road car’s fully integrated roll cage that also meets FIA racing safety requirements using only a small number of add-on components,” Pericak said. “From the turbochargers to the cup holders, every component of the Ford GT has been developed with the driving experience at its core.”
Maybe if Lockheed would’ve used a few million more lines of code the F-35 project wouldn’t be the unmitigated 15-year dollar sucking disaster it currently is…