The Marine Corps and the Air Force successfully tested bi-directional data sharing on the F-22 and F-35 in exercises in Arizona and Nevada for the first time. The test was reportedly the latest demonstration of the network architecture underpinning its Advanced Battle Management System. Fifth-generation fighters are generally only able to communicate with each other and to command and control centers, but not with fighters in other classes because they use digital languages that aren’t compatible. But the gatewayONE system can translate between those formats, allowing the aircraft to more fully gather and share data and intelligence. The service announced that the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), along with partner Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., had flown with the gatewayONE payload aboard a XQ-58A Valkyrie UAV demonstrator in formation with a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). “During the test event, an F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning, the air force’s two fifth-generation fighters formed up off the wings of the smaller Valkyrie as it continued to fly autonomously in formation. This is a major milestone in the service’s efforts to provide low cost force multipliers in relevant operational environments,” the USAF said.
The first seven people to enlist directly into the US Space Force have graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. The five men and two women, who graduated December 10, were among 414 recruits who completed seven and a half weeks of training, according to an Air Force announcement. Training began Oct. 20 following the recruits’ swearing-in at Fort George G. Meade Military Entrance Processing Station in Fort Meade, Md. At the graduation ceremony, Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett spoke about three Airmen who represent the Air Force’s ideals of integrity, service and excellence, including Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, who flew more than 30 different types of aircraft as an Air Force test pilot and then served 12 years as an astronaut.
Middle East & Africa
Boeing won a $46.9 million deal for the F-15 Qatar program. The deal provides or the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) requirement to procure Digital Electronic Warfare System spares for the Qatar Emiri Air Force. The F-15QA is the most state-of-the-art variant of the Eagle to date, building upon the F-15SA that was developed for Saudi Arabia. Qatar has ordered 36 F-15QAs which are the first to feature a new Advanced Cockpit System with Large Area Displays, among other improvements.Work will take place in St. Louis, Missouri. Estimated completion date is August 23, 2023.
Bell Textron won a $22.8 million order, which provides engineering and logistics support, procures four resident integrated logistics support detachment computer seats, trailer lease site for flight test engineers, support equipment workaround material and aircraft wiring integration remote terminal and flight control computer test station material in support of Marine Corps (USMC) AH-1Z; the governments of Bahrain and the Czech Republic UH-1Y and AH-1Z production aircraft; and USMC UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft modifications and sustainment. Work will take place in Texas and Maryland. Estimated completion date is in February 2022.
The US State Department approved a possible $500 million sale of two fully equipped Gulfstream G550 Aircraft to Italy. Italy’s government had requested two aircraft and supporting equipment including four Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems, three GPS security devices and four (4) RIO Communications Intelligence Systems. Italy also requested that up to six additional US contractors work in Italy for a year train personnel in use of the new equipment. The Gulfstream is a private business jet also utilized by the USAF for transportation of elected officials, cabinet secretaries and top generals.
South Korea will go ahead to sign a contract to buy 12 MH-60R naval helicopters from Lockheed Martin this month. The contract is worth $878 million and all helicopters will be delivered by 2025. A total of 12 Seahawks will arrive according to an agency official said. The 19.76-meter-long and 5.1-meter-high chopper with the maximum cruising speed of 267 kilometers per hour can handle multiple missions, including operations of warfare, search, rescue, and medical evacuation.
Watch: Full F-22 Demo: Exclusive Look Inside the Raptor