F-22, F-35 Communications 2017

Cockpit, radar, helmet-mounted display, and other avionics
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neptune

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Unread post09 Nov 2017, 01:09

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... sh-443005/

USAF puts comms gateway for F-22 and F-35 back on shopping list

08 November, 2017
BY: Stephen Trimble

Washington DC
A communications system that can translate messages between the US Air Force’s most advanced and oldest fighters is back on the service’s expedited shopping list, according to a recent acquisition notice. The Air Force Lifecycle Management Center (AFLCMC) is asking suppliers to provide information about how they could deliver and integrate a “5th to 4th Generation Gateway” system on the USAF’s fighters within 12 months. Details of the USAF’s technical requirements for the gateway system are stamped “for official use only” in a 23 October request for information issued by AFLCMC, so are not publicly disclosed. The RFI represents the “government's market research to assess the current state of existing technical capabilities and interest from industry to provide a 5th Generation to 4th Generation Gateway operational capability in 12 months on airborne platforms,” the AFLCMC says to FlightGlobal. But the need for a system that can translate coded messages in stealth mode between fifth generation fighters, such as Lockheed Martin F-22s and F-35s, and fourth generation fighters, including Boeing F-15s and Lockheed F-16s, has been known for a long time.

The F-22 uses the intra-flight data link (IFDL) to communicate with other F-22s in stealth mode with a low probability of detection or interception. The F-35 uses the multifunction advanced data link (MADL) for the same purpose, but only with other F-35s. Neither the IFDL or MADL is compatible with data links by so-called “fourth-generation” fighters, such as Link-16 and Link-11, which send encrypted messages using waveforms that can be detected by adversaries. Developing a system that can bridge that gap has been pursued for more than a decade. In 2008, the USAF demonstrated that an F-22’s IFDL waveform could be translated into a waveform that could be received by Link-16. The demonstration used the Northrop Grumman Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN). That system is now fielded on USAF E-11s and RQ-4s, but still lacks the ability to bridge the IFDL and Link-16 waveforms operationally. In responses to questions by FlightGlobal, the AFLCMC emphasizes that the new RFI is not limited to potential new applications of the BACN gateway system.
:)

....again, and again!, maybe this time they can get the software loaded in both, before it gets cancelled!
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Unread post09 Nov 2017, 05:09

Since the F-35 MADL uses SDR (software defined radios)... is it possible to program MADL to grok IFDL so that the F-35's can communicate stealthily with the Raptors? Is it just programming the IFDL waveforms into the F-35? Or is the MADL SDR's incapable from a hardware standpoint?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post09 Nov 2017, 05:28

Depends on the antennas and if the frequencies of IFDL and MADL are hardware compatible.
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Unread post09 Nov 2017, 10:51

That's going to upset some RU and canard lovers, I use to enjoy how terrible it was that the f-35 could talk on link 16 to the f-22, but the f-22 was mute threads. DOOMED I TELL YOU DOOMED

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Unread post25 Apr 2019, 22:09

There are a few threads about 'GATEWAYS' this one will have to do rather than start anotherie (no details in post below).
USAF Standing Up Urgent ‘5th To 4th Gateway’ Site
22 Apr 2019 Steve Trimble

"The U.S. Air Force is standing up a gateway communication system at an operational base to enable certain front-line fighters, including the Lockheed Martin F-35A, to transmit data to other aircraft types without compromising its stealth signature, according to a newly-released acquisition notice.

The site activation at a classified site reveals a behind-the-scenes effort by the Air Force to overcome a well-known limitation in the communications systems of so-called fifth-generation fighters. A “5th to 4th Gateway” allows the F-35 and Lockheed F-22 to transmit the volumes of data collected by their onboard sensors to other aircraft despite lacking a compatible data link....

...For nearly a decade, the Air Force had expressed interest in addressing the communications gap between fifth- and fourth-generation fighters, which include the Boeing F-15 and F-16. But a 2013 plan to launch a 5th to 4th Gateway program of record never materialized. Such a gateway can receive an IFDL or MADL transmission, then translate the message into a format and waveform that is compatible with Link 16 or other radios on fourth-generation fighters....

...the requirement for a 5th to 4th Gateway gained traction in late 2017. An undisclosed combatant command issued an urgent operational need for such a system. On Dec. 17, 2017, the Air Force awarded a $15 million contract to Northrop Grumman’s Mission Systems division for a 5th to 4th Gateway system, according to acquisition records. The award for the “risk reduction” effort had a maximum value of $72 million, according to Air Force acquisition data. Nearly 16 months later, the Air Force awarded Northrop a $4.29 million contract to stand up the first 5th to 4th Gateway field site “in theater,” an Air Force notice says.

Northrop declined to elaborate on the Air Force acquisition disclosures, but the company offers the Freedom 550 gateway system between IFDL, MADL and Link 16, among other data links. The site activation effort gets underway as the F-35A begins its first deployment to a combat zone. Four Air Force F-35As landed at Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE on April 15 to support U.S. Central Command operations, which includes active combat zones in Syria and Afghanistan."

Source: https://aviationweek.com/defense/usaf-s ... teway-site
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Unread post26 Apr 2019, 12:33

spazsinbad wrote:
USAF Standing Up Urgent ‘5th To 4th Gateway’ Site
22 Apr 2019 Steve Trimble

"The U.S. Air Force is standing up a gateway communication system at an operational base to enable certain front-line fighters, including the Lockheed Martin F-35A, to transmit data to other aircraft types without compromising its stealth signature, according to a newly-released acquisition notice.

The site activation at a classified site reveals a behind-the-scenes effort by the Air Force to overcome a well-known limitation in the communications systems of so-called fifth-generation fighters. A “5th to 4th Gateway” allows the F-35 and Lockheed F-22 to transmit the volumes of data collected by their onboard sensors to other aircraft despite lacking a compatible data link....

Source: https://aviationweek.com/defense/usaf-s ... teway-site


Likely for deployable ground systems to support BACN judging by these FY20 budget documents:

https://apps.dtic.mil/procurement/Y2020 ... B_2020.pdf
This BACN payload is controlled by ground stations that are comprised of two support elements: a Payload Control Element - Launch (PCE-L) and Payload Control Element - Mission (PCE-M). The RapidlyDeployable Payload Control Element (RD-PCE) will provide the same PCE-L and PCE-M functionality in rapidly deployable configuration.


https://apps.dtic.mil/procurement/Y2020 ... B_2020.pdf
Battlefield Airborne Communication Node (BACN) provides a Combatant Commander (CCDR) flexible, long-endurance, responsive airborne communications capability. BACN provides a dedicated airborne capability to conduct voice bridging/translation, Tactical Data Link (TDL) gateway, and TDL relay functions for beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) data communications. Funding will support procurement of aircraft engines to increase current BACN fleet service life expectancy. Funding also supports procurement of platform provisioning supplies. Funding will also be used to procure and integrate the Fifth-To-Fourth Generation Gateway (524 GW) Capability onto EQ-4B BACN fleet. Funding will support procurement and installation of retrofit kits to integrate Link 16 External Time Reference (ETR) with Global Positioning System (GPS) capability. Milestone/Development Status BACN includes the payload, its host platforms, and associated ground systems.
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Unread post08 Nov 2019, 01:12

F-35 To F-22: Can We Talk? Finally, The Answer Is Yes

Next month, the Air Force will start rapid-fire field tests of new network tech, including a long-delayed secure datalink between its two stealth fighters

WASHINGTON: Starting in December, the Air Force will try new network technology in real-world experiments every four months, the service’s new chief architect said today. The initial experiment next month will take three small but crucial steps towards the military’s goal of a comprehensive Multi-Domain Command & Control network linking all four services across all five domains, land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace:

New ways to share data between aircraft and ground forces (this one is tentative);

A cloud-based common operational picture that tracks where friendly forces are and displays a map of their constantly updated positions;

The highest-profile piece, a communications link that finally allows F-35 and F-22 stealth fighters to share data without giving away their position...

“It’s not 100 percent done. This is going to be like the 10 percent solution,” Dunlap told me. While he’s taking inspiration from the rapid-fire cycles known in the IT sector as DevOps (Development/Operations), the December experiment will not necessarily even be what the Silicon Valley would call “a minimum viable product.”

“Nothing will be solved in December,” he said. The goal is to get something that works well enough to test in real-world conditions and get feedback from real pilots. Then you take that data and improve your 10 percent solution to 12 percent, or 15 percent, or higher, and run the improved version through another test four months later – then rinse and repeat every four months until you get something good enough to field to actual combat forces.

“Really, December’s going to baseline the state of play and what’s available,” Dunlap told me. “Then we’ll come again in March/April with the lessons that we’ve learned out of that.”...

“I’ve got six product categories that we care a lot about,” he told me. “We want to be able to integrate sensors. We want to get data off of them. We want to secure the process. We want to be able to put applications [on the system] and connect capability and people together. And we want to output an effect.” (“Effect” is military jargon for anything from publishing a press release, to jamming a radar, to hacking a network, to blowing everything up).

“Across all those lines of effort, every four months we want those to be able to pull into an integrated set of exercises and operational scenarios,” he said. “Ideally, there’d be something from each of those” in each experiment.

“Some folks could say….it seems like that takes a lot of faith,” said Dunlap, a self-described “evangelist” for the new approach. “But it’s actually less faith [than a traditional 10-year procurement program], because you’re going to see faith become sight every four months.”...

https://breakingdefense.com/2019/11/f-3 ... er-is-yes/
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Unread post08 Nov 2019, 05:48

USAF to Unveil Fighter Comms Translator, Command and Control App
07 Nov 2019 Rachel S. Cohen

"The Air Force next month will roll out two initial batches of technology intended to help the F-22 and F-35 “talk,” and to provide a fuller picture of US combat assets in a particular area.

Starting in December, the service plans to demonstrate a new way of getting its two most advanced fighter jets to communicate using the first iteration of a secure, encrypted data link. Officials hope to introduce upgrades every four months, according to Preston Dunlap, the Air Force’s chief architect for the Advanced Battle Management System.

The data link will translate the information one platform sends—like location, targeting, and more—into a format the other can process, Dunlap said at a Nov. 7 conference hosted by Defense One. Over time, the Air Force hopes to introduce a new system that lets the planes talk more directly.

Getting the F-35 and F-22 to share data, and broadening the effort’s scope to help the other military services transmit information more easily, play into the Defense Department’s vision of more interconnected combat operations, which the Air Force is pursuing under ABMS...." [other stuff at the jump]

Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... l-App.aspx
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Unread post08 Nov 2019, 12:33

How much would it have cost to just give MADL to the F-22?

Or since the F-35 has supposedly a "more open architecture" with software defined radios, why couldn't IFRL have been added to the F-35?

Could the amount of funds spent by the US Congress' penchant for purchasing additional, unrequested aircraft for the services, have funded either of these upgrades? Or perhaps the $$ to be spent on F-15XYZ would have funded this capability.

IMO, all this d*cking around by the Air Force... and they are still just getting around to slapping a band-aid on the comms problems of the F-22.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post10 Nov 2019, 06:59

At Long Last, the F-35 and F-22 Might Talk to Each Other
08 Nov 2019 Patrick Tucker

"And once service officials can digitally link two of the military’s stealthiest platforms, they’re going to try to link everything else.

The U.S. Air Force will try to get an F-22 and an F-35 to talk to each other in December, part of a broader effort to link all of its manned and unmanned aircraft, Air Force and military officials announced on Thursday. The service is also testing a new dashboard to help commanders and operators share a picture of the battlefield that shows all ground, air, sea, and even cyber assets....

...It’s part of the Pentagon’s vision to digitally link operations in every warfighting domain, including every ship, aircraft, vehicle, and servicemember in the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force, a concept that service chiefs first began discussing publicly in 2017.

There are multiple challenges to realizing that vision. A big one is that many of the military’s expensive jets and other platforms weren’t designed for that sort of digital integration. Hence the test to connect and F-22 and an F-35 over a digital gateway — essentially, software that translates between the planes’ different communications protocols and radio frequencies.

“We built the F-22 a while ago,” said Dunlap. “Time passed.” [nos hit]

He described the F-35 as better technology but with “a different set of communication standards. So that’s both physics, like frequency, and software, and radio, and what’s behind that antenna.... ...“The main point is that we want both of them to be able to share communication over a link that allows them to do so in a way that protects their survivability.”

Part of the challenge is figuring out what precisely an F-22 and F-35 should say to each other, and what pilots and their commanders should do with that information. It’s not just a semantic quandary. The multirole F-35 was designed to integrate lots of data from various other sensors and drones across the battlefield; the F-22, designed primarily for air dominance, was not. Each pilot’s view of the battlefield and everything in it is very different.

The jet-to-jet communications architecture — to be developed and tested in four-month cycles — will ultimately lay the foundation for the Air Force’s connections to other platforms, like ships, tanks, trucks, and troops. “We’re going to extend that to our sister services so that that information can be shared with troops on the ground,” said Dunlap. “So if its an Army unit, Marines, or Special Operations, they can really take advantage of information from aircraft or satellites overhead, but today are fairly limited in information they can get to.”...

...Next month, the Air Force will create Omni One, a dashboard that will present an integrated picture of various U.S. military assets, like jets, tanks, and ships. It’s the sort of thing that civilians are used to when they use apps like Waze or FlightAware but that doesn’t exist in the military for most operators, particularly those in very hard-to-reach places. Omni One is meant to provide the same picture that commanders have at the highest levels down to every operator that needs that view...."

Source: https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2 ... er/161185/
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Unread post10 Nov 2019, 21:05

In First, Air Force Will Send Secure Data Between an F-22 and F-35 [best read it all at source]
08 Nov 2019 Oriana Pawlyk

"...The technology is "something that can translate from that way not only one platform talks, [like] the language, but also has to cross over the frequencies," he added. In 2013, Lockheed Martin demonstrated linking the F-22 and F-35a via a Link 16 capability in what the company called "Project Missouri." But the process never became standard-use....

...Speaking to reporters after his panel speech, the chief architect said the experiment will bring in a range of Air Force units, with operations taking place in widely separated geographic locations.

Earlier this year, the F-35 connected and shared information between a U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft and a ground control facility operated by the Missile Defense Agency, according to Lockheed Martin Corp., which ran the test.

"During the demonstration, called 'Project Riot,' an F-35 detected a long-range missile launch with its onboard sensors and shared the information through the U-2 to the air defense commander on the ground, enabling the commander to quickly make the decision to target the threat," Lockheed officials said in a September news release.

"This next-level connectivity reduces the data-to-decision timeline from minutes to seconds, which is critical in fighting today's adversaries and advanced threats," it stated."

Source: https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... -f-35.html
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Unread post11 Nov 2019, 04:30

boilermaker wrote:Not much but sequestration which was Obama's mean to blackmail out illegal welfare and funding for his political NGOs threw away a lot of key updates for the F22, notably the helmet cueing and IRST part too.


IRST (something similat looking to EOTS or some kind of IRST dome housing) was/is never going to be a part of the F-22. Unless they find some extra real estate somewhere or do some kind of structural modification for a dedicated EOTS or IRST housing, I dont see it ever happening. Pilots apparently loved the Scorpion cueing system and really want something similar and refined.



They're already on A-10s and F-16s.
https://gentexcorp.com/gentex-raytheon- ... t-program/

First thing they should do is definitely improve the comms of the F-22. This would give greater SA to the F-22 as well as to the strike package the F-22s are escorting. A helmet and improved sensors and that Raptor has even sharper claws.
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Unread post11 Nov 2019, 17:08

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't get it...

* How do you design an F-22 with mission hardware/software that isn't easily modified? Did someone at LM decide inflexible mission hardware/software made sense?
* How do you design an F-22 with no/limited ability to "talk" to legacy jets such as the F-15? Even if all F-15C's were replaced, USAF still planned on flying F-15E's for quite some time. Did they not envision the two in the same battlespace?'
*How do you build the worlds penultimate air dominance fighter... without a helmet mounted sight and with only 1 (radar) sesnsor?
*How after making all these mistakes on the F-22, does the same company build the F-35 and NOT include a capability for it to talk securely to F-22's?

I'm sure something other than funding explains it, but it just seems ludicrous on all counts...
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Unread post11 Nov 2019, 18:55

I think we’ve been over this before but —

F-35 ‘talks’ to F-22 just fine via L16; however, F-22 is L16 receive-only.

The helmet matter was covered in the F-22 podcast that is around here somewhere. Part of the challenge is the physical dimensions of the space between the pilot’s head and the canopy.

Radar only?? How about EW and CNI?

After all the time and bandwidth expended discussing these programs around here, how is it we believe that the contractor just unilaterally decides what goes on the jet or not? :-?
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Unread post11 Nov 2019, 19:39

quicksilver wrote:After all the time and bandwidth expended discussing these programs around here, how is it we believe that the contractor just unilaterally decides what goes on the jet or not? :-?


Not only this ^^, but the F-22 was conceived in the 1980's, and designed in the 1990's, when the Internet was still largely Al Gore's wet dream (/sarcasm=off). Getting the F-22's to securely talk to each other was a revolution at the time. Why muck it up trying to talk to the F-15 from the 1960's? Better question: did the Air Force issue a requirement for F-22's to talk to F-15's? Which is to what QS alludes. Contractors won't let their engineers lift a pencil, or type a keystroke until they have a charge number against which they can charge to a specific requirement. (Well, they might spend some internal research and development dollars (IRAD or IR&D) on a capability... but then the contactor OWNS that technology and intellectual property -- and then people bitch 20 years later about why the gummint has to pay through the nose to a contractor for capability X.)

Perhaps I need to back off my previous post and ask the following question: this F-35 <-> F-22 comms capability the Air Force is getting ready to test in December... is it just some slapdash / jurry rigged architecture using an intermediate piece ala Northrop Grumman's BACN? Or is it real, bona-fide F-35 <-> F-22 direct comms? That is... is the Air Force actually spending $$ to have the F-35 software defined radios (SDR's) grok the F-22's IFRL? (Which seems a lot more plausible and less expensive than adding MADL to F-22's by either adding avionics, or somehow modifying 20+ year old ADA code in the F-22's to somehow grok MADL with their IFRL hardware.)
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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