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
PodcastFormer top defense official Robert Work on "Intelligence Matters"
In this episode of Intelligence Matters, guest host Admiral James "Sandy" Winnefeld (ret.) speaks with Robert Work, the 32nd United States Deputy Secretary of Defense for both...
By Robert O. Work
CommentaryThe Case for a Pacific Deterrence Initiative
When war broke out in Ukraine in 2014 the Department of Defense moved swiftly to invest billions in near-term enhancements in Europe to address growing military-operational sh...
By Randy Schriver & Eric Sayers
VideoArmy trade-offs within FY21 budget
Susanna Blume, senior fellow and director of the Defense Program at CNAS, discusses the Army leadership’s approach to the FY21 budget. Watch the full conversation in Governme...
By Susanna V. Blume
PodcastThe Overseas Basing Debate, Part 2
Host Kathleen Hicks continues a discussion with Susanna Blume, Zack Cooper, and Dave Ochmanek on the major debates surrounding U.S. overseas military forces. Listen to the fu...
By Susanna V. Blume