The F-35 Lightning II jet can't communicate all that well with its little brother the F-22 Raptor. Because of course it can't.
Just like a government-built round peg that's supposed to go into a square hole, the F-22's communications systems can't send its "most sensitive data" to other planes besides other F-22s since they are different from everything else, including the F-35, according to Air Force Magazine.
For now, F-22 pilots can only receive data from F-35 pilots and talk to them on the radio, but they can't send data back, severely limiting the Lightning's much-hyped role as being a "quarterback" on the battlefield.
Here's how Air Force Magazine describes it:
The situation wasn’t brought about by negligence. In developing the F-22—and later, the F-35—designers needed to preserve the jets’ stealth against rapidly evolving adversaries. Standard radio emissions would reveal their locations, which meant devising ways the low-observable fighters could talk to each other without giving away their position. Both jets have what are called “low probability of detection/intercept” communications gear to stay hidden. The F-35’s system—because it was developed 10 years after the F-22’s—takes a different approach.
The F-35 can talk to just about everything and fuse data received from other fifth-generation and fourth-generation aircraft, since it's outfitted with two different communications systems. But the F-22 has a communications system built only for itself, called the Intra-Flight Data Link.
F-22s were supposed to get the upgraded Multifunction Advanced Data Link that the F-35 has, but surprise, that was canceled five years ago due to cost.
“There’s a lot of improvements that could have been done and should have been done 15 years ago,” David Rockwell, a senior defense electronics analyst with Teal Group, told Bloomberg. “The Air Force postponed a lot of things for [the] F-22.”
The Air Force plans to start fixing the problem by 2021, according to Bloomberg. It will probably cost a fortune, so if you have the means, it may be good to check out some Lockheed stock.
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.
The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.
I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.
Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment "Dark Horse," 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are escorted by observer controllers from the U.S. Army Operational Test Command after completing field testing of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) Sept. 24, 2018. (U.S. Army/Maj. Carson Petry)
The Army has awarded a $575 million contract to BAE Systems for the initial production of its replacement for the M113 armored personnel carriers the service has been rocking downrange since the Vietnam War.
President Donald Trump has formally outlined how his administration plans to stand up the Space Force as the sixth U.S. military service – if Congress approves.
On Tuesday, Trump signed a directive that calls for the Defense Department to submit a proposal to Congress that would make Space Force fall under Department of the Air Force, a senior administration official said.