Legacy Fighters Share Fifth-Gen Toys

F-22 and F-35 fighters translated and passed fifth-generation sensor and communication data to legacy aircraft on the Link 16 network during a series of recent demo flights at Nellis AFB, Nev., and Edwards AFB, Calif., Northrop Grumman announced May 27. The Joint Capability Technology Demonstration, known as Jetpack, “implemented a system to allow fourth-generation fighters to access the bounty of sensor information from the fifth-generation aircraft,” said Jeannie Hilger, vice president of the company’s communications division. The internal or pod-carried system “leverages Northrop Grumman’s F-35 avionics development to provide a production-ready, affordable solution for our joint forces,” added Hilger. The JCTD program to develop the system is sponsored by Air Combat Command, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and US Pacific Command. Test flights from Nellis were successfully completed in March and the final phase at Edwards wrapped up last month, according to the company.