Luke AFB supports historic Ally training + bomber aircraft

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spazsinbad

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Unread post20 Nov 2022, 00:41

Luke AFB supports historic Ally training with bomber aircraft
18 Nov 2022 1st Lt. Charis Bryan; 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

"For the first time over the U.S., allied nation F-35 Lightning II aircraft operating out of the 56th Fighter Wing, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, supported off-station training with B-2 Spirit aircraft assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman AFB, Missouri, Nov. 15 and 17, 2022.

Over the course of the two-day mission, a total of 20 F-35s from Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and the U.S. conducted offensive counter air training with five of the bomber aircraft in the Barry M. Goldwater Range, Arizona. The pilots of the stealth fighter jets are currently training with the 62nd Fighter Squadron, 63rd FS, and 308th FS at Luke AFB....

...The exercise paired the enhanced situational awareness and stealth capabilities of the F-35 with the low-observable characteristics of the B-2, focusing on the combined readiness on the airframes.

This is the third time that the 56th FW, has supported off-station training events for bomber aircraft integrating with partner F-35 pilots. On Oct. 3 and Nov. 4, 2022, U.S. Air Force and partner nation F-35 aircraft assigned to the 62nd FS trained with B-1 Lancer aircraft from the 7th BW, Dyess AFB, Texas.

The 56th FW is the largest fighter wing in the U.S. Air Force and produces approximately 75% of the world’s F-35 pilots. The wing routinely hosts Ally and partner nation personnel and aircraft for training."

Source: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/433554/lu ... r-aircraft
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos
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steve2267

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Unread post20 Nov 2022, 05:05

This pairing seems rather unusual and unlikely. With so few airframes available, me thinks the B-2 would be set aside for strategic purposes, whether it be on standby, or flying actual strategic missions.

From a training perspective, the only mission set that makes any sense would be the Panthers spot the prey (via their superior (?) sensors), and utilize the B-2's as large magazines in the sky - dispensing 2000lb JDAMs as necessary.

On the other hand... were one to be scud-hunting (aka ICBM silo hunting in places north of a parallel line), the B-2's could carry a number of 5000lb GBU-28s (or related). BUT the F-35's would be hard pressed to get into such a theater and cruise around for long. They might have an hour on station? In a smaller theater, perhaps that is enough. You could rotate flights of F-35's in, whilst a B-2 loiters. Still... that's an awful precious strategic asset to be loitering over enema airspace.

If the Spirits are MADL equipped... I suppose some sort of "short range" escort could be provided by the Lightnings.

If B-2's could be configured to dispense AIM-120-D3's... a pair of Lightnings with a Spirit AMRAAM dispenser would make for a potentially interesting pairing. But that's what the F-22's are for, eh?
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 post20 Nov 2022, 07:30

Did somebody say ASYMMETRIC ADVANTAGE? Introducing the Distributed Team
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWYY6KHIrK4

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ricnunes

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Unread post20 Nov 2022, 14:00

steve2267 wrote:This pairing seems rather unusual and unlikely. With so few airframes available, me thinks the B-2 would be set aside for strategic purposes, whether it be on standby, or flying actual strategic missions.


They are probably training for what comes next or more precisely preparing for the B-21.

Remember that the B-21 will (apparently) be a somehow scaled down, cheaper and more numerous "version" of the B-2. So what better aircraft to be used in lieu and in training/preparation for future B-21 deployments operating together with the F-35 (and other assets) than the B-2? :wink:
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post20 Nov 2022, 14:53

You may very well be correct. Further searching turned up additional articles about joint F-35 / B-2 training back in 2020. Those articles sketched a picture wherein the F-35's were escorting, as it were, the B-2's on a training strike mission. The F-35's apparently were clearing a corridor by reducing enema air defenses (killing SAM and his friends) and killing air-to-air threats. What was not explained was how the Panthers and Spirits were communicating. This method apparently still being open to conjecture. Both platforms have Link-16, but that is decidedly non-stealthy. A 2009 article described an enterprise-level effort to add MADL to the F-22 and B-2, but does not go further other than to describe all stakeholders bought into the effort. Imma gonna guess the B-2 has received MADL. It's the only technology / waveform that would meet the needs of both platforms, unless, somehow, some uber-secret B-2 waveform was developed and stealthily back-doored onto the F-35 platform. But budgets and whatnot... woulda thought someone would have spotted the telltale budget tinkering on the F-35 side.
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 post20 Nov 2022, 15:00

Here is the 2009 article that discusses the effort to add MADL to F-22 and B-2. (It may be around here somewhere.):
Center team works to connect new fighters, bomber
Published April 9, 2009
By Chuck Paone
66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AFNS) --
An airborne networking team here is working to connect low-observable aircraft such as the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II and B-2 Spirit with each other, and with the rest of the force.

These aircraft rely on a number of technological advantages to defeat adversaries and accomplish their missions, and not the least of those advantages is stealth.

Unfortunately, stealth is negated the moment voice communication becomes necessary.

...

https://www.f-16.net/forum/posting.php?mode=reply&f=54&t=58925
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 post20 Nov 2022, 15:44

steve2267 wrote:Further searching turned up additional articles about joint F-35 / B-2 training back in 2020. Those articles sketched a picture wherein the F-35's were escorting, as it were, the B-2's on a training strike mission. The F-35's apparently were clearing a corridor by reducing enema air defenses (killing SAM and his friends) and killing air-to-air threats.


Yes, the F-35 is much better suited for this than any other aircraft previously made (including the F-22). The F-35 being stealth means it won't compromise the B-2s position when operating near them as opposed if they were being escorted by non-stealth 4th gen fighter aircraft (hence IMO one of the reasons why previously and usually the B-2s tend to operate alone) and the F-35 superior range and multi-role capabilities make it a better escort platform (than again the F-22). Only NGAD will be better at this.


steve2267 wrote:What was not explained was how the Panthers and Spirits were communicating. This method apparently still being open to conjecture. Both platforms have Link-16, but that is decidedly non-stealthy. A 2009 article described an enterprise-level effort to add MADL to the F-22 and B-2, but does not go further other than to describe all stakeholders bought into the effort. Imma gonna guess the B-2 has received MADL. It's the only technology / waveform that would meet the needs of both platforms, unless, somehow, some uber-secret B-2 waveform was developed and stealthily back-doored onto the F-35 platform. But budgets and whatnot... woulda thought someone would have spotted the telltale budget tinkering on the F-35 side.


I read in a few places that B-2 is equipped with MADL. I was only able to find the link below which is from Wikipedia and as such it's worth for that it is:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multifunc ... _Data_Link
Platforms
The F-22 MADL upgrade was cancelled in 2010
The F-35 will have MADL built in
B-2 Spirit
US Navy surface combatants with Baseline 9 Aegis Combat System can take targeting data from F-35s via MADL.



And I also found this:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/madl-ess ... rles-alexi
MADL is a key capability provided by Northrop Grumman’s F-35 integrated communications, navigation and identification (CNI) avionics. MADL provides needed throughput, latency, frequency-hopping and anti-jamming capability with phased Array Antenna Assemblies (AAAs).

These antenna assemblies send and receive tightly directed radio signals in the Ku band.to support capabilities of a narrow directional communications data link between stealth aircrafts, B-2 and unmanned systems.


So, I would say that either the B-2 is equipped with MADL or it's equipped with some sort of (directional and stealthy) data-link system which is compatible with MADL.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post20 Nov 2022, 15:52

Given that MADL is apparently a N-G product, all signs point towards N-G having integrated their MADL onto their B-2 at some point.
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 post20 Nov 2022, 15:57

Yeah, that makes sense.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post20 Nov 2022, 16:26

I do not have time to post snippets / intros to the following articles, but as I found them all interesting and relevant to the present topic, I plonk them here. (They may appear elsehwere on this forum, but then here they are again.)

In August 2020, there was a large USAF test exercise in Nevada involving multiple stealth platforms: F-22, F-35, B-2, RQ-170, possibly other unnamed platforms:

Stealth Is Put To The Test In Huge Exercise Teaming RQ-170s, F-35s, B-2s With Other Jets by Trevithick & Hunter @ TheDrive.

A few months later, B-2's exercised with F-35's out of Luke AFB in Arizona. Why no F-22's? Dunno. Maybe IFDL meant the Raptors couldn't play with the other children in the sandbox and the first exercise showed it was too hard to integrate them? Speculation on my part. Another article at TheDrive, this one by Newdick: B-2 Bombers Practice Stealth Team Tactics With F-35 Pilot Trainees For The First Time.

An article mentioned in one of those two stories discusses military aircraft and their data-links (specifically Link-16 and something called SADL, both not being stealthy). Conspicuously absent was discussion of MADL: Master Chart Showing US Military Aircraft And Their Data-Links Includes RQ-170 Sentinel

This article about The B-2 Bomber Is Still Getting “Game-Changing” Upgrades As Focus Shifts To The B-21 mentions comms, and kinda/sort hints at MADL, if reading between the lines, but no specific mention is made. It does reference this article about using the B-21 as a high-altitude BACN node: The B-21’s Three Decade Old Shape Hints At New High Altitude Capabilities, which would imply a MADL capability would have to exist -- OR -- you have to add some other LPI / stealthy comm capability to F-35 and all your other tactical theater-level assets.

Lastly, this article discusses Air Force Upgrades Weapons, Radios for B-2 Stealth Bomber, but it focuses more on some low frequency, EMP-survivable strategic comms capabilities. Still, all signs seem to point to MADL having been added to the B-2, and having that capability as a B-21 requirement.

Can someone refresh my memory -- why was it so difficult / expensive to add MADL to the F-22 that it was dropped? Being that all comms these days seem to revolve around SDRs... why was adding MADL to F-22 so difficult? Wouldn't it just have been some software changes to make the SDR hardware do different magic tricks? The fact that it was not done suggests a hardware mod or addition would have been required to the F-22. This suggests to me that it is more than just "waveforms"... that different frequencies are involved, so different hardware emitters/receivers are required? MADL is Ku band, so I am inferring that IFDL is NOT Ku band?

Also, can someone point me to a primer on "waveforms"? To this air head, a "waveform" is just a sine wave, and I am obviously not grokking the finer points of this topic. TIA.
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 post20 Nov 2022, 18:14

steve2267 wrote:Can someone refresh my memory -- why was it so difficult / expensive to add MADL to the F-22 that it was dropped? Being that all comms these days seem to revolve around SDRs... why was adding MADL to F-22 so difficult? Wouldn't it just have been some software changes to make the SDR hardware do different magic tricks?


Those are actually some very good questions or even "million dollar" questions (pun intended :wink: ).

I think no one here knows for sure the answer for tose questions and the very few that might know won't be talking. So if I had to speculate in order to try to answer those questions then I would say:
1- Either the B-2 is already or actually equipped and upgraded with MADL.
2- Or, B-2 has a dedicated data-link with was somehow upgraded to be compatible with the F-35's MADL.
As such:
In case if 1- is what happened then the reason why the F-22 wasn't equipped with MADL while the B-2 was, was because of cost. Remember that depending of the source there's something like or up to 183 F-22s in service while there's only 20 B-2s. Upgrading 20 aircraft with MADL is of course much cheaper than upgrading up to 183 (potentially more than 9 times more).
Or, if what happened was case number 2- then the B-2 being a much larger aircraft (than the F-22) should have all the required internal space to put all the "equipment and boxes" (hardware) required to make the own data-link compatible with MADL. Your source stating that the B-21 could be used as a BACN node between F-35 MADL and F-22 IFDL could somehow back this up. Anyway and in this case the F-22 couldn't receive such kind of upgrade because there wouldn't be enough internal space for it and the alternative would be a complete replacement of the F-22's datalink (IFDL) with a new data-link such as the MADL itself and this would be far more expensive!
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.

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