The U.S. Air Force examined communication data links in a recent flight test involving all three variants of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II aircraft.
During the test, the planes were flown by the U.S. Air Force’s 461st Flight Test Squadron to verify communication systems between the three variants were working properly.
The pilots focused on the Multifunction Advanced Data Link, or MADL, a direct communications link that allows operators to trasmit secure tactical information. Testers say the examination was essential for ensuring the survivability of warfighters in the future.
“One of the primary reasons we do multi-ship testing is to ensure data is shared appropriately between aircraft in order to maximize lethality and survivability,” test pilot Maj. Raven LeClair said in a press release. “The F-35 uses [Multifunction Advanced Data Link] to share information on air and ground threats in order to more effectively target. This is especially applicable to one of the F-35’s primary missions – finding and killing advanced surface-to-air missile systems.”
LeClair went on to add the MADL capability is beneficial for interoperability between the F-35 and the 4th generation planes it is meant to replace, such as F-16s and F/A-18s.
“Having a common battlefield picture is one of the greatest assets in combat,” he said. “This capability must be proven to be secure and ensure maximum interoperability between 4th and 5th-generation fighters. The F-35 has an incredible capability to show the entire tactical picture and being able to share this tactical picture with all forces is critical to maximizing lethality, survivability and minimizing the risk of fratricide.”
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense