Boeing and Rockwell Collins recently completed flight-testing components of USAF’s new weapons data link network. The tests proved the ability to transmit messages to and from a weapon using existing Link-16 networks and that the “data link can be sized to fit into a weapons application,” said Rockwell officials. The Boeing-led effort is under contract to the Air Armament Center at Eglin AFB, Fla. Boeing officials said the recent tests were “a critical component” in on-going research to develop network-enabled technology applicable to numerous weapons, including the Small Diameter Bomb Increment II, Joint Direct Attack Munition, and future weapons.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.