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In First, Air Force Will Send Secure Data Between an F-22 and F-35

The U.S. Air Force will soon test out a gateway that could finally allow the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 Raptor to share data during missions without compromising the fighters’ stealth, a service official said Thursday.

It would be the first time the Air Force will test how the two highly capable fifth-generation fighters can exchange battlespace information after years of incompatibility, said Preston Dunlap, the Air Force’s chief architect serving the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

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Despite training range flaws, Red Flag-Alaska challenged pilots, Air Force says

Despite ongoing issues with antiquated electronic warfare systems at the 67,000-square-mile Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, Red Flag-Alaska 19-2 was able to challenge the pilots who took part, according to the Air Force. But that may have been because U.S. Air Force fifth-generation aircraft, F-22s and F-35s, were noticeably absent from the proceedings.

The two-week multinational training exercise is meant to provide realistic combat experience to pilots in a controlled environment, which increases their survivability on actual combat missions, Senior Airman Eric Fisher, with the 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office at Eielson Air Force Base, said in an email.

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Lockheed hypes F-35?s upgrade plan as interest in ?sixth-gen? fighters grows

LE BOURGET, Paris ? As European defense firms drum up publicity about the sixth-generation fighters they plan to build, Lockheed Martin executives promoted the F-35 as the proven fifth-gen option that could blur the lines with sixth-gen planes as it is upgraded into the 2020s and beyond.

?It?s a compliment to the F-35 that many countries are looking to replicate fifth gen and then extending that to sixth gen,? Michele Evans, Lockheed?s head of aeronautics, told Defense News at the Paris Air Show on June 19. ?I think it really does reflect on the value of what F-35 is bringing to the pilots and the battlespace. In terms of technology, we?re not going to let F-35 go static.?

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Anticipated upgrades to old F-15s could cost nearly as much as buying new ones

Debate continues to rage among pundits and internet warriors alike about the value (or lack thereof) in the Air Force ordering 80 brand new F-15X air frames in the coming years. Some contend that the billions of dollars being spent on these new ?old? aircraft would be better invested by expanding orders of the more technologically advanced F-35. Those in the F-15X camp point out that F-15s are expected to remain a part of the Air Force?s military strategy for years to come, and claim that, despite lacking in stealth and data fusion technology, the F-15 still has some tricks up its sleeve that the F-35 lacks.

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Glitchy Gun, Low Availability Rates Plague F-35, DoD Weapons Tester Finds

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet still does not have an adequate aircraft availability rate, according to the Defense Department’s testing office. The fifth-generation fighter has had a “flat” trend in capacity rates over the past three years, according to a recent Director of Operational, Test and Evaluation report. Even as the services focus on improvement initiatives, they’re “still not translating into improved availability,” it stated.

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US Air Force moves to fortify F-35 weak points against hacking

BERLIN ? The U.S. Air Force is devoting fresh energy to plugging cybersecurity holes in the F-35’s external support systems, as they are deemed the easiest entry points for hackers into the fifth-generation combat jet, according to a key service official.

?It?s a software-based aircraft, and any software-based platform is going to be susceptible to hacking,? Brig. Gen. Stephen Jost, director of the Air Force F-35 Integration Office, told Defense News in an interview at the International Fighter industry conference here.

The service considers the information backbone of the actual airplane ? managed by manufacturer Lockheed Martin ? relatively safe. That is thanks to what Jost called ?multilayer security protections? ranging from secure authentication when crafting mission data packages for each aircraft before takeoff, to pilots punching in personal identification numbers to start up the plane.

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