Whole Lotta Prototyping Going On

Farnborough, UK The Air Force is rapidly prototyping a number of hardware solutions to get the F-22 and F-35 to talk with each other and the rest of the combat air forces and still stay stealthy, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle said. “In two to three years, you’ll see the fielding of some of this stuff,” Carlisle told reporters. “I think it’s incredibly important to network our platforms together,” he said. “Our ability to defeat an enemy is often based on” decision-quality information provided swiftly to commanders, “so our adversary has to react” to the US, “instead of the other way around.” He acknowledged that “we probably didn’t spend enough time” on the F-22’s Intra-Flight Data Link (IFDL) and F-35’s Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), but “having said that,” the F-35 has transmit and receive on Link 16, and the F-22 can transmit on Link 16, “and we’re about to put receive on there.” The heavy prototyping now is centered on “a box that translates” IFDL and MADL “and the next generation of datalinks” for both the US and partner countries, so everyone gets a common picture. There’s extensive work being done by industry, partner countries, “and some of the laboratories that is really showing promise,” he said. “We’re making serious progress on that translator capability and what that looks like. We’ll have a program of record for the future that will allow us” to create such a common operating picture.