Feb 26, 2014

Lockheed Secretly Demonstrates New Stealthy Fighter Comms

Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a secretly developed capability to fix one of the shortfalls of its stealthy F-22 and F-35 fighters: their inability to link to one another, or to legacy fighters, for air campaigns.
The company recently showcased a new datalink capability for the fighters through Project Missouri. During the demonstration, Lockheed validated the use of a Link 16 transmit capability from the twin-engine F-22 Raptor as well as showcased a waveform developed by L-3 Communications and optimized for low-probability-of-intercept/low-probability-of-detection transmissions.
The demonstration required 8 hr. of flight time and took place Dec. 17 and 19. The trials required the use of an Air Force Raptor as well as an F-35, and a 737-based flying laboratory that is used to test F-35 software standing in as a Joint Strike Fighter surrogate. The F-22 was able to transmit to a Link 16 terminal on the ground.
The F-22 was designed to communicate only with other Raptors in an effort to reduce emissions from the aircraft to maintain signal stealth in the event of a peer-to-peer engagement. However, because of a dramatic cutback in the number of Raptors purchased, 187 operational, the aircraft must now communicate with F-35s.

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