Northrop’s fix F-35 & F-22 comms problem: Global Hawk drones

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Unread post24 Aug 2017, 03:41

Northrop’s fix for F-35 and F-22 communications problem involves Global Hawk drones
23 Aug 2017 Valerie Insinna

"WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman has a pitch to solve communications problems between the F-35 and F-22: Put a new radio on a Global Hawk drone and have it act like a translator between the two assets....

...Northrop’s proposed fix involves integrating its Freedom 550 radio aboard the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV — which is already used as a communications node in the Middle East and elsewhere — thus providing a near-term way to allow both jets to talk to each other, said Mike Lyons, the company’s head of Global Hawk business development.

“We’ve got a solution that we’ve identified and made a pitch to the Air Force. We’re just waiting for the requirements to basically say: ‘Go do [that],’ ” he said during an interview at Northrop’s facilities in Palmdale, California.

The F-35 and F-22’s inability to share data with each other has been a longstanding issue that the Air Force has been grappling with for some time. At one point, the service planned to retrofit its F-22s with MADL, but the program was canceled early this decade. However, as the F-35 becomes a more substantial part of the Air Force’s inventory, finding a communications gateway between fifth- and fourth-generation fighters is becoming a bigger priority....

...The Freedom 550 is a multichannel, software-defined radio that shares data from MADL and IFDL through J-series messages via Link 16, according to Northrop. It can also link fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 and F-22 with fourth-gen jets like the F-15 and F-16.

“It has the ability to pull the fifth-gen comms — the secured comms — and then it can bridge it over to an unsecured network, if you want, like Link 16 or SADL” Lyons said, using an acronym for the situational-awareness data link. “It allows those secure comms to talk to each other, because right now they can’t.”...

...The Air Force regularly flies an EQ-4 configuration of the Global Hawk for communications relay purposes. Instead of being outfitted with electro-optical/infrared sensors and radar like a typical RQ-4 used for surveillance, the EQ-4 carries the battlefield airborne communications node, which links surface and air operators on different networks — particularly useful in rough or mountainous terrain, where it’s often difficult to retain connectivity.

“We’ve had missions where the Navy won’t fly if this is not up and flying, because it’s the only way they can talk to their ships from their airplanes,” Lyons said.

Global Hawks are long-endurance, high-altitude UAVs can spend nearly 34 hours in the air. However, there is still space in the EQ-4’s payload bay for additional communications systems like the Freedom 550, Lyons added.

The scope of the Air Force’s joint urgent-operational-needs statement is still to be determined, but it’s possible that others besides Northrop could come forward with their own technology. For instance, Boeing has developed a data link pod called Talon HATE designed to be carried by the F-15. In May, the company proved that two F-15Cs equipped with the Talon HATE pod could communicate with F-22s."

Photo: "Members of the 380th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron complete post-flight checks on an EQ-4 Global Hawk equipped with a battlefield airborne communications node at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia on April 1, 2017. (Senior Airman Tyler Woodward/U.S. Air Force)" https://www.armytimes.com/resizer/NPPmW ... uality(100)/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-mco.s3.amazonaws.com/public/XOJNWVES3JDOVGJLRMS4OJONU4.jpg


Source: http://www.defensenews.com/air/2017/08/ ... hawk-uavs/
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Unread post24 Aug 2017, 04:44

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Unread post24 Aug 2017, 05:30

basically
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Unread post30 Aug 2017, 17:32

I see I got my answer on how F-35 and F-22 will communicate lol...

Maybe they should work the 'final solution' out before they go down the PCA moneyhole...it would seem comms are our biggest hurdle, not having a PCA to fight a mythical enemy it'll probably never face...
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Unread post30 Aug 2017, 17:55

chucky2 wrote:I see I got my answer on how F-35 and F-22 will communicate lol...

Maybe they should work the 'final solution' out before they go down the PCA moneyhole...it would seem comms are our biggest hurdle, not having a PCA to fight a mythical enemy it'll probably never face...


Thanks for the info. General. :doh:
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Unread post30 Aug 2017, 18:19

chucky2 wrote:Maybe they should work the 'final solution' out before they go down the PCA moneyhole


That is a False Dichotomy and breaks the 6th Commandment of Rational Debate.

6. Thou shall not reduce the argument down to two possibilities.


The "final solution" was to update the F-22 with MADL but that was canceled due to delays with JSF. Now, the powers that be do not want to put it back in for likely budgetary reasons. The people who would be updating the F-22 with MADL are not the people would would be working on PCA right now.
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Unread post31 Aug 2017, 06:07

sferrin wrote:
chucky2 wrote:I see I got my answer on how F-35 and F-22 will communicate lol...

Maybe they should work the 'final solution' out before they go down the PCA moneyhole...it would seem comms are our biggest hurdle, not having a PCA to fight a mythical enemy it'll probably never face...


Thanks for the info. General. :doh:


LOL, no problem! :D
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Unread post31 Aug 2017, 06:12

SpudmanWP wrote:
chucky2 wrote:Maybe they should work the 'final solution' out before they go down the PCA moneyhole


That is a False Dichotomy and breaks the 6th Commandment of Rational Debate.


:D

6. Thou shall not reduce the argument down to two possibilities.

The "final solution" was to update the F-22 with MADL but that was canceled due to delays with JSF. Now, the powers that be do not want to put it back in for likely budgetary reasons. The people who would be updating the F-22 with MADL are not the people would would be working on PCA right now.


I know they won't be the same (largely) as working on PCA. My point is that we're so far ahead of the Russians and Chinese with F-22A and F-35, it'd be better to blow our treasure on getting a battlefield ready MADL/post-MADL system in place before we run off and dump $200B into PCA. Get something actually useful and needed before we get PCA to defeat all 15 of RU's Su-57 that the 10x more F-22A can already smoke. I know, I know...the taxpayer needs to endlessly fund 'the cool sh*t'... :)
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Unread post31 Aug 2017, 06:52

In all likelihood, MADL is going into PCA so it's no harm no foul putting it into the F-22.

Remember that MADL and the rest of the CNI in the F-35 are all software based. a patch is the only thing needed to change encryption, waveforms, etc as long as the frequency stays the same.

They can do MADL on the F-22 and work on PCA without any loss of investment or waste of money.

MADL on the F-22 is not about "the cool stuff", it's about a force multiplier on the front edge of the air-battle sword.

PCA is not "cool stuff" either. We know that the F-22 will need replacement in a couple of decades and now is the right time to start planning for PCA. Think the early to mid 90's in the JSF timeline where it's sitting 20 years before IOC.
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Unread post01 Sep 2017, 16:50

SpudmanWP wrote:In all likelihood, MADL is going into PCA so it's no harm no foul putting it into the F-22.


I wonder if what they'll end up doing is something like MADL 2.0, or, MADL 1.5...not just for the F-22, but also the F-35 as well. Obviously one would want the secure jam proof/resistant to be able to effectively share large scale conflict type data...something like a 40-60 flight of Chinese aircraft against a flight of 20-30 American/NATO aircraft. Throw in missles launched into that, and it'd have to be a hell of a protocol to quickly share that much information between so many receiving and transmitting devices. I wonder if we'll see the return of blimps in secured allied airspace...perhaps not with the advent of the high endurance drone...

Remember that MADL and the rest of the CNI in the F-35 are all software based. a patch is the only thing needed to change encryption, waveforms, etc as long as the frequency stays the same.


I hope that's true. Also hope they leverage everything in the F-35 for B-21 and PCA. Having common systems would be a nice thing to have for sure, maybe actually save some money for once.

They can do MADL on the F-22 and work on PCA without any loss of investment or waste of money.

MADL on the F-22 is not about "the cool stuff", it's about a force multiplier on the front edge of the air-battle sword.


They haven't even got MADL on the F-22 yet despite having a decade to do it. If $$$ is the reason we don't have MADL straightend out on F-35, let alone more $$$ they elected not to appropriate for F-22 to get MADL, then dumping $$$ to do the PCA program seems like a waste of $$$ to me. What is better: All our forces have a great working data sharing protocol, or, we have PCA a decade earlier and are absolutely no safer in the skies as the F-22 can already handle whatever will be up there? I'll take the data sharing please...

PCA is not "cool stuff" either. We know that the F-22 will need replacement in a couple of decades and now is the right time to start planning for PCA. Think the early to mid 90's in the JSF timeline where it's sitting 20 years before IOC.


Yes, that part is unfortunate. Do you think they won't be able to extend the F-22 hours or that it'll be deemed too expensive to do so? (like the F-15C dilemma they have now)
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Unread post01 Sep 2017, 16:56

'chucky2' said: "...If $$$ is the reason we don't have MADL straightend out on F-35..." Why When Who said this? NOW?
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Unread post01 Sep 2017, 16:59

You do realize that the PCA wouldn't be entering service until probably the mid 2040s or later, right? It's not going to be competing with F-22/35 funds.
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Unread post01 Sep 2017, 17:06

The F-22 won't require a SLEP, to extend its service life. http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-bu ... 2060-21329

"The Raptor’s airframe is incredibly robust due to the Air Force’s extreme requirements for the design during the closing years of the Cold War. Though the F-22 was designed with an 8000-hour airframe life, real life-flying experience shows that the jet can be safely flown without modifications out to 12,000 hours at the low-end and as many as 15,000 hours on the high-end.

“Way back in the late 80s and early 90s when we designed the F-22, we had about 10 design missions that we built the structure of the aircraft around,” McIntyre said.

“That’s what during EMD [engineering, manufacturing, development] we did the full scale testing on against those missions. We came to find out we have not been flying the Raptor nearly as hard as those design missions nor as what we found out during the structural testing, so actually the airframe itself—without any service life extension program—is good out to approximately 2060.”
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Unread post01 Sep 2017, 17:07

The original plan for the F-22 & MADL was based on the F-35's planned IOC of 2010. However, once the "re-baseline" happened for the F-35, the F-22's plans had to be canceled since the MADL would not be ready to meet the planned F-22 schedule. MADL itself is not having issues and has actually exceeded specs in several areas. The problem now is that the desire to restart the F-22 MADL program has not materialized with budgetary reasons being the main cause.

On the MADL 2.0 issue, I have no doubt that it will be updated throughout it's lifetime. Just look at what happened with Link-16.
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Unread post02 Sep 2017, 02:35

wrightwing wrote:The F-22 won't require a SLEP, to extend its service life. http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-bu ... 2060-21329

"The Raptor’s airframe is incredibly robust due to the Air Force’s extreme requirements for the design during the closing years of the Cold War. Though the F-22 was designed with an 8000-hour airframe life, real life-flying experience shows that the jet can be safely flown without modifications out to 12,000 hours at the low-end and as many as 15,000 hours on the high-end.

“Way back in the late 80s and early 90s when we designed the F-22, we had about 10 design missions that we built the structure of the aircraft around,” McIntyre said.

“That’s what during EMD [engineering, manufacturing, development] we did the full scale testing on against those missions. We came to find out we have not been flying the Raptor nearly as hard as those design missions nor as what we found out during the structural testing, so actually the airframe itself—without any service life extension program—is good out to approximately 2060.”


That's really great, isn't it? Maybe. Looking at it another way, the original design mission usage was too severe, resulting in over weight and over cost airplanes. And there is no guarantee the light usage so far will continue for the next forty three years. What happens if we get caught up in a seventeen year long war and mission usage doubles? But that can't happen, can it?
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