MADL vs other datalinks

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

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Unread post18 Sep 2020, 11:59

Dragon029 wrote:DARPA has been talking about moving data links to new, wide-band, digital beam-forming, multi-beam data links as a successor to MADL ("MIDAS" being a proposed data link); it's possible that MADL is getting a hardware upgrade in the future to embrace some of those technologies (you generally wouldn't affix a "Super" prefix to something just getting a software upgrade too).

Whether it's new hardware or just a software upgrade however, the contact in layman terms is a review into whether a design (typically one yet to enter EMD) is going to meet baseline requirements (ie if this Band 5 receiver warning capability will work adequately via whatever they're doing with MADL).


Here is interesting document about DARPA MiDAS program:
https://www.darpa.mil/attachments/MIDAS ... Day_v3.pdf (should be embedded now)

Program info: https://www.darpa.mil/program/millimete ... tal-arrays
More info: https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2018-01-24

It's not a data link itself, but technology program which can be used as a base to create new very fast and flexible data links and is likely applicable to other applications like radar, ESM and EW systems. This could be MADL 2.0 which there has been some notes in official documents. It would likely need new antennas, new waveform(s) and new software to the SDR to get all the benefits.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post18 Sep 2020, 12:00

spazsinbad wrote:Thanks for this. An OCR version is attached below Tactical Data Link Systems ADF DSTO Aug 2003 a417899 OCR.pdf


Thank you spazsinbad! I need to start attaching these pdfs, so these can be found years later...
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marauder2048

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Unread post18 Sep 2020, 19:54

hornetfinn wrote:
Dragon029 wrote:DARPA has been talking about moving data links to new, wide-band, digital beam-forming, multi-beam data links as a successor to MADL ("MIDAS" being a proposed data link); it's possible that MADL is getting a hardware upgrade in the future to embrace some of those technologies (you generally wouldn't affix a "Super" prefix to something just getting a software upgrade too).

Whether it's new hardware or just a software upgrade however, the contact in layman terms is a review into whether a design (typically one yet to enter EMD) is going to meet baseline requirements (ie if this Band 5 receiver warning capability will work adequately via whatever they're doing with MADL).


Here is interesting document about DARPA MiDAS program:
https://www.darpa.mil/attachments/MIDAS ... Day_v3.pdf (should be embedded now)

Program info: https://www.darpa.mil/program/millimete ... tal-arrays
More info: https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2018-01-24

It's not a data link itself, but technology program which can be used as a base to create new very fast and flexible data links and is likely applicable to other applications like radar, ESM and EW systems. This could be MADL 2.0 which there has been some notes in official documents. It would likely need new antennas, new waveform(s) and new software to the SDR to get all the benefits.


A MIDAS based approach would be a wholesale replacement for the aperture (much wider bandwidth that MADL),
the antenna, the receiver electronics and all of the software stack (DDS/SDR, protocol etc.).
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Unread post15 Dec 2020, 02:48

IFDL <-> MADL gateway.
And it flies
And it's LO
And it's attritable
And it's runway independent.

And it's just a cool photo.

https://www.edwards.af.mil/News/Article/2446122/gatewayone-and-attritableone-test-moves-joint-force-one-step-closer-to-iotmil-d/
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hornetfinn

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Unread post15 Dec 2020, 08:56

Very interesting marauder2048, thank you! That MQ-58 Valkyrie looks like very suitable platform for many missions. I'd imagine it could also perform stand-in jamming support, perform recon and naturally do ground attacks itself.
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Unread post15 Dec 2020, 15:10


My favorite part. 8)
The F-35B sends video !? :shock: Wow!
gatewayONE and attritableONE test moves joint force one step closer to “IoT.mil,” demonstrates F-22, F-35 first secure bi-directional data sharing
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs / Published December 14, 2020

“The gatewayONE payload really showed what’s possible and helped us take a big step towards achieving (Joint All-Domain Command and Control),” said Lt. Col. Eric Wright, a 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron F-35 pilot. “This critical capability provides additional connections between our advanced fighters and other forces and battle managers across all domains. The future is promising, and gatewayONE will allow the F-22 and F-35 to connect to and feed data sources they've never before accessed. Those future connections will bring additional battlefield awareness into the cockpit and enable integrated fires across U.S. forces.”

Additional successful tests during the week included establishing a communications pathway between the KC-46 Pegasus tanker and a ground node using commercial internet routing standards over the Tactical Targeting Network Technology waveform and the F-35B sending full-motion video to a ground controller.

“If fifth-generation platforms are going to be quarterbacks of a joint-penetrating team, we have to be able to communicate with those quarterbacks in an operationally relevant manner and enable data sharing between them, to them, and from them. For years people said it couldn’t be done. Today the team turned another page toward making the impossible possible,” said Preston Dunlap, Air and Space Force’s chief architect. “In just 12 months, the team has opened the door to a world where we can put the power of an operations center into the cockpit at the tactical edge.”

And...
Ouch! :doh: Please make the next test successful ! :salute:
The Dec. 9 flight test included the attritableONE platform, also known as the XQ-58 Valkyrie, a lower-cost, unmanned, aerial vehicle. The rocket-launched Valkyrie successfully conducted a semi-autonomous flight alongside the F-22 and F-35s for the first time. The gatewayONE payload was integrated into the Valkyrie for its maiden voyage with the fifth-generation fighters to conduct an initial test of gateway capabilities from an attritable platform; however, shortly after takeoff, the communications payloads lost connectivity and those test objectives were unable to be accomplished.

Scene of XQ-58A launch. :shock: WoW.
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Unread post17 Dec 2020, 13:41

Skyborg Drone Translates Between F-35 and F-22 in Test
16 Dec 2020 John A. Tirpak

"The Air Force successfully got an F-22, F-35B, and XQ-58A Valkyrie “attritable” drone talking to each other in a Dec. 9 test, demonstrating a connectivity between stealth platforms the service has sought for years. It was also the fifth flight of the Valkyrie—flying in formation with the F-22 and F-35.

The Kratos-made Valkyrie, one of the “Skyborg” class of drones, carried a “gatewayONE” translator system, allowing an Air Force F-22 and a Marine Corps F-35B to communicate using their otherwise incompatible datalinks: the Intra-Flight Data Link, or IFDL, on the F-22, and the Multifunctional Advanced Data Link, or MADL, on the F-35. The datalinks let F-22s and F-35s communicate with other jets like themselves without being detected or overheard, but weren’t designed to be interoperable, separated as they were by 20 years of technology advance.

While the test began using the Valkyrie’s onboard translator payload, the communications payload lost connectivity shortly after the aircraft’s rocket-powered takeoff, the Air Force said. It isn’t yet known what happened or why the payload failed. The remainder of the test was run using a ground-based version of the system.

All told, only nine of 18 test objectives were met. The jets shared “actionable operational data” collected by the F-35B over the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., the service said....

...The test also demonstrated “the beginning of a family of vehicles to be able to operate with the fifth-generation platforms,” Dunlap noted.

In a press statement, Dunlap said the two-way secure communications between the fighters was once thought impossible, but the test is a step toward “making the impossible possible … .In just 12 months, the team has opened the door to a world where we can put the power of an operations center into the cockpit at the tactical edge.”

The test is indicative of “the stuff ABMS is all about,” as it demonstrated cross-service communication and target handoff, said Lt. Col. Kate Stowe, gatewayONE program manager for Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, in a release, referring to the service’s Advanced Battle Management System program. The “win” of the test was “seeing gatewayONE establish a secure, two-way translational data path across multiple platforms and multiple domains.”...

...The tests last week also demonstrated the importance of using artificial intelligence to fly aircraft and conduct tasks like the communications translation, Dunlap noted. While “not everything worked, that’s okay, the team has learned and the team has addressed those things. [This is a] huge operational stepping stone here, [with] many chapters yet to go.”

Dunlap cautioned that the Air Force has not decided to use a gateway/translator platform as the ultimate solution for getting the F-22 and F-35 to be able to talk to one another. “Real estate” on a combat aircraft is precious and a software solution may yet be found, he asserted.

The Skyborg/F-22/F-35 test was planned to be done in April, but was delayed for reasons not explained by the Air Force.

The test was carried out by the Air Force Research laboratory, in conjunction with the 64th Test Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla."

Photo: "A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor and F-35A Lightning II fly in formation with the XQ-58A Valkyrie low-cost unmanned aerial vehicle over the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground testing range, Ariz., during a series of tests Dec. 9, 2020. This integrated test follows a series of gatewayONE ground tests that began during the inaugural Department of the Air Force on-ramp last year in December. Courtesy photo." https://www.airforcemag.com/app/uploads ... image1.jpg


Source: https://www.airforcemag.com/skyborg-dro ... 2-in-test/
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steve2267

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Unread post17 Dec 2020, 18:02

Stooopid question for the radio / radar guys: since the F-35 doesn't have radios, that is does not have a conventional radio, but instead uses Software Defined Radios, why can't they just write some software that enables MADL to speak IFDL... problem solved?

Is there a hardware incompatibility wherein MADL and IFDL are on totally incompatible wavelengths

While I'm asking, can someone point me to a primer on waveforms? I see the term bandied about, but to a guy that just recalls radiowaves as sinewaves and a basic satellite comms class some thirty years ago about encoding zeros and ones on the edge / rise / fall of a signal... it's all greek to me. 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 post17 Dec 2020, 20:30

Hanscom AFB team helps deploy Interim Full Motion Video on F-35B
17 Dec 2020 K. Houston Waters , 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

"HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AFNS) -- A small team at Hanscom Air Force Base has been working with the F-35 Joint Program Office to provide a game-changing close air support capability for the U.S Marine Corps F-35B. The Kill Chain Integration Branch of the Special Programs Division of the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate, headquartered at Hanscom AFB, helped field Interim Full Motion Video [IFMV], a combination of a video stream and associated location metadata in one video file that replaces the F-35B Combat Training System.

With this new capability, the F-35B aircraft will be able to send live video to ground units to more effectively coordinate air action against hostile targets operating near friendly forces.

“The capability, along with its architecture, will provide the warfighter a need today, while also enabling a Department of Defense game-changer tomorrow,” said Lt. Col. Mike DiMaria, Kill Chain Integration Branch materiel leader.

While full motion video is expected to be delivered enterprise-wide to the warfighter by 2024, the efforts of the team have provided the Marine Corps with an interim solution.

“The IFMV system is a success story in delivering a needed capability on an operationally relevant timeline to support our warfighters while furthering the long-term goals of integrating open mission systems standards and architecture,” said Lt. Gen. Eric Fick, F-35 JPO program executive officer. “IFMV on F-35s will absolutely help to accelerate future capability delivery, increase competition, and reduce costs.”

In August 2016, the USMC deputy commandant for aviation sent a memo to the F-35 PEO requesting the rapid fielding of full motion video for F-35Bs, deeming the capability “essential to the way we fight,” especially in support of close air support operations. Later that summer, Hanscom AFB’s Special Programs Division demonstrated an Open Mission Systems architecture on a Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady. Marine Corps officials witnessed that demonstration and asked if the division could integrate the same architecture into the F-35B using legacy video waveforms.

OMS is a government-owned architecture specification that promotes interoperability, reuse and ease of hardware and software integration into platforms. It focuses on the interfaces between software services and hardware subsystems and how data is exchanged across those interfaces....

...According to officials, the Open Mission Systems architecture provides a widely compatible environment limited only by the capabilities available to bring into the system.

“A good analogy comes from the well-known quote in the movie “Field of Dreams,” said Capt. Ronald Windham, Kill Chain Integration Branch program manager. “‘If you build it, they will come.’ Well, the team has built it. The OMS framework now exists and it is operational, just like the baseball field Kevin Costner built. This next wave of new capability is limitless.”

IFMV has a performance threshold range exceeding 50 nautical miles. Additionally, the system demonstrated interoperability with numerous ground receivers and other aircraft.

“Not only will IFMV provide the F-35B an indispensable warfighting capability four years ahead of schedule, but it will also prove OMS as a viable architecture going forward, one that enables the acquisition community to deliver upgraded capability faster, and cheaper, than ever before,” DiMaria said. “OMS compliance is now a DoD-wide requirement in all new platform projects, and the Special Programs Division will be the first to show its power. It is essential to the way we fight not just for USMC, but now for all.”"

Source: https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display ... -on-f-35b/
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Unread post17 Dec 2020, 22:27

steve2267 wrote:Stooopid question for the radio / radar guys: since the F-35 doesn't have radios, that is does not have a conventional radio, but instead uses Software Defined Radios, why can't they just write some software that enables MADL to speak IFDL... problem solved?

Is there a hardware incompatibility wherein MADL and IFDL are on totally incompatible wavelengths

While I'm asking, can someone point me to a primer on waveforms? I see the term bandied about, but to a guy that just recalls radiowaves as sinewaves and a basic satellite comms class some thirty years ago about encoding zeros and ones on the edge / rise / fall of a signal... it's all greek to me. TIA.



"Dunlap cautioned that the Air Force has not decided to use a gateway/translator platform as the ultimate solution for getting the F-22 and F-35 to be able to talk to one another. “Real estate” on a combat aircraft is precious and a software solution may yet be found, he asserted."
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Unread post17 Dec 2020, 23:32

steve2267 wrote:Is there a hardware incompatibility wherein MADL and IFDL are on totally incompatible wavelengths


Yes. Two widely separated bands: K-band and Q-Band.

The previous AF approach was to develop a dual-band antenna/aperture/receiver electronics retrofit
kit for the F-22. The dual-band antenna was prototyped (shown below) and is probably what is being
used for most of the gateway tests.

However, Congress balked at the F-22 retrofit costs (~ $1 billion). So here we are.

The alternatives are: airborne gateways, LPD waveforms for the L-band apertures on the F-22/F-35.
Or wait for an advanced MADL based on the DARPA MIDAS effort which would encompass the entire
spectrum from K - Q-band.
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Unread post17 Dec 2020, 23:46

Still wonder if MADL could have other adaptions besides coms:

Adaptive surveillance and guidance system for vehicle collision avoidance and interception
https://patents.google.com/patent/US838 ... ta+Link%22

The data link can include a Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), which uses multiple phased array antennas to provide spherical coverage around the aircraft. The steered, stabilized, pencil beam MADL cannot be intercepted unless the listener is phase-locked on the beam, which is constantly moving.

[...]

In another embodiment, the surveillance system 40 is a milli-meter wave (MMW) radar 43, which can be the same MADL milli-meter wave radar used for the communication system 30 that enables the surveillance system 40 to locate targets and obstacles within a distance of around 10 miles.
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Unread post18 Dec 2020, 00:13

energo wrote:Still wonder if MADL could have other adaptions besides coms:


There was a suggestion that the F-35 uses it for station keeping during formation flying.
Or potentially non-cooperative collision avoidance.
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Unread post18 Dec 2020, 00:46

marauder2048 wrote:
energo wrote:Still wonder if MADL could have other adaptions besides coms:


There was a suggestion that the F-35 uses it for station keeping during formation flying.
Or potentially non-cooperative collision avoidance.


That's it, thank you! In searching for a post I think I did years ago, I came across your post describing the (other) patent I had in mind, which provides more details on the MADL and potential use as a formation aid:

viewtopic.php?p=388154#p388154
https://patents.google.com/patent/US20050055143

Back in 2009 I asked Lockheed and Harris about this. Harris (obviously) declined to comment, but Lockheed did (as part of my visit to the plant):

Avionics: Does the MADL aperture have other potential uses besides purely communication?

The F-35 has the ability to share apertures among various systems within the aircraft based on frequency band and location. Long term plans have not been finalized. MADL apertures were designed for the unique capabilities of this datalink.


So the implication is that MADL can be evolved into a sensor tracking Ruski.. I mean objects at close range. :mrgreen:
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Unread post18 Dec 2020, 09:48

energo wrote:Still wonder if MADL could have other adaptions besides coms:



There has been speculation about an electronic attack capability for MADL based on the cryptic “Non-MADL EA Mech” phrase that appears on a briefing slide:
https://i.imgur.com/RclUR2V.jpg
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