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A 40th Flight Test Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon sits in the anechoic chamber at Eglin AFB, Fla., after completion of the initial round of testing simulations on the new M7 software upgrade. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.

Test pilots are testing the F-16's next generation software package in a realistic combat environment during Exercise Northern Edge at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, officials announced. F-16s from Eglin AFB, Fla., will fly with the fighter's developmental M7 Operational Flight Program software during the two-week exercise this month. "Until now, the OFP has been in a limited and controlled environment," flight test engineer 1st Lt. John Vidoni said in a release. "This allows us to test very specific requirements, and dig deep into the software ... in an environment where it will eventually be deployed," he added. Northern Edge will subject the software to realistic combat jamming, surface-to-air threats, enemy aircraft, and joint operations, offering "countless ways to push the limits of the M7 system," said Lt. Col. Tim Stevens, 40th Flight Test Squadron commander from Eglin. Testers from both Eglin and Edwards AFB, Calif., are deploying for the exercise June 15-26.