Raptors Test Networking, Air and Ground

Using two specially configured F-22s during the latest Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment, the Air Force demonstrated it could transfer real-time sensor data acquired by the new fighters to ground stations at JEFX central at Nellis AFB, Nev., and Langley AFB, Va., according to a May 2 release from F-22-lead contractor Lockheed Martin. The two-week JEFX included two F-22s outfitted with “an experimental version of the Tactical Targeting Network Technology waveform developed by Rockwell Collins,” states Lockheed, adding that the F-22s flew in “realistic scenarios” that highlighted the Raptor’s “significant non-traditional intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance capabilities.” According to Lockheed F-22 general manager Larry Lawson, “This is the first time in history that F-22 sensor data was down-linked to the combined air operations center using a tactical network.” According to the company release, the effort required both the Air Force and Lockheed to overcome “enormous security challenges.” The experiment also linked the F-22s to other airborne platforms as well as ground stations, making it a “huge first step” for the F-22s toward becoming net-enabled, said Mark Jefferson, director of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Horizontal Integration. The F-22 pilots, he said, “stayed pretty busy conducting offensive counter air and destruction of enemy air defenses air dominance missions as well as dynamic targeting attacks with F-16s and non-traditional ISR collection events during the exercise, while also simultaneously piping classified sensor data to the CAOC.”