Not only hasn’t the Air Force solved the problem of how to get its fifth-generation F-22s and F-35s talking to each other, it still hasn’t figured out whose job it is to fix the problem, service F-35 integration director Maj. Gen. Jeff Harrigian said Thursday. “It’s not me,” he told reporters after an AFA Mitchell Institute event, adding that the inability of the two fighters to stealthily communicate is one of the problems that drove the creation of his office, which serves as a single point of contact between USAF, the F-35 Joint Program Office, and the contractors. “You’ve got to have the ‘who owns this?’” discussion, he said, adding that he is working with Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle to answer it. He said the looming inception of the F-35 into the fleet could be a “forcing function” to solve not only fifth-to-fifth ?gen comms, but also fourth-to-fifth and other issues. He said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about a solution, noting, “there’s things being done on this,” but as to command and control issues, “I haven’t taken that on, yet.” Industry officials suggested the problem might not be USAF’s fault, given that USAF can’t buy a solution unless it’s compatible with an inter-service interoperability standard … and there may not be one, yet. The two jets actually can communicate one-way: F-22s can receive info from F-35s via the Link 16 datalink, but not send.
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."