As the Air Force Times recently reported, the F-22 and F-35A conducted their first integrated training mission earlier this month. Several observers declared this mission, which included offensive counter air, defensive counter air and interdiction operations, to be a success. But if the planes are to actually operate as a cohesive strike package in the complex A2/AD environments of the future, the services will first need to address a glaring gap in interoperability: data links.
Currently, the F-22 and F-35 are equipped with two different low probability-of-intercept/low probability-of-detection (LPI/LPD) systems for exchanging data while in stealth mode: the F-22 uses the older and more limited Intra Flight Data Link (IFDL); the F-35 operates with the newer Multifunction Advanced Data Link. Quite astoundingly, these two LPI/LPD systems cannot communicate with each other, meaning that if the F-35 and F-22 need to share information with each other, they must do so using the non-stealthy Link 16 system used by 4th-generation legacy aircraft. (And even then, the F-22 is limited to receiving data; it cannot transmit it.)
Read the full article at War on the Rocks.
More from CNAS
CommentarySharpening the U.S. Military’s Edge: Critical Steps for the Next Administration
The Bottom Line The United States is losing its military technological advantage vis-à-vis great power competitors such as China. Reversing this trend must be DoD leadership’...
By Michèle Flournoy & Gabrielle Chefitz
ReportsInvesting in Great-Power Competition
Executive Summary This report asks whether the 2021 U.S. defense budget request is aligned with the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) in selecting priority capability inves...
By Susanna V. Blume & Molly Parrish
VideoThomas Harker performing duties of DoD Comptroller
Bob Hale, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, discusses how Thomas Harker will continue as Navy Comptroller while performing duties of the Under S...
By Robert F. Hale
VideoThe Pitch: A Competition of New Ideas
On June 17, 2020, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) hosted its premier event to elevate emerging and diverse voices in national security. Sixteen applicants made t...
By Richard Fontaine, Michèle Flournoy, Michael J. Zak, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Shai Korman, Carrie Cordero, Kristine Lee, David Zikusoka & Cole Stevens