31 Jul 15. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall statement on Marine Corps F-35 IOC. The U.S. Marine Corps’ declaration of Initial Operational Capability (IOC) marks a significant milestone in the continued evolution of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. The decision was made following a thorough Operational Readiness Inspection which assessed the Marine Corps’ ability to employ this complex weapon system in an operational environment. This achievement is a testament to the efforts of the F-35 joint program office and industry team, as well as the hard work and support from the Marine Corps. This accomplishment is an affirmation that the F-35 program is on track to deliver essential 5th generation warfighting capabilities to our U.S. services and international partners. It is also a reminder that we still have work ahead to deliver the full warfighting capability required by all three services and our partners while we continue our successful efforts to drive cost out of the program. (Source: US DoD)
31 Jul 15. With the U.S. Marine Corps achieving F-35B initial operating capability (IOC), the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) waveform developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been proven a key combat-ready capability of the F-35 Lightning II program. MADL is a high-data-rate, directional communications link that allows fifth-generation aircraft to communicate and coordinate tactics covertly. During testing of the Lockheed Martin F-35, MADL exceeded 1,000 flight hours. The Marine Corps declared the F-35B short takeoff and vertical-landing (STOVL) aircraft and the first squadron – Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121), known as the Green Knights – officially operational July 31. VMFA-121, based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, is equipped with 10 aircraft.
“Northrop Grumman congratulates the Marine Corps on their achievement of this momentous F-35 milestone,” said Jeannie Hilger, vice president and general manager, communications division, Northrop Grumman Information Systems “The successful completion of IOC also validates Northrop Grumman’s more than 10-year effort to advance communication among fifth-generation aircraft.” MADL is part of Northrop Grumman’s F-35 integrated communications, navigation and identification (CNI) avionics and an important element of the F-35 Block 2 software release. Northrop Grumman has delivered 181 CNI systems to Lockheed Martin, the F-35 prime contractor. Since August 2012, MADL has been used continuously to support a variety of developmental and operational objectives during testing at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Block 2B MADL testing culminated with four F-35s demonstrating that data passed among the aircraft via MADL could be correlated with data from other F-35 sensors and fused to form a unified situational awareness picture on cockpit displays.
“In addition to fifth-to-fifth, Northrop Grumman’s CNI system also provides a core capability for fifth-to-fourth generation networked data sharing and unparalleled interoperability,” Hilger said, citing a series of operational flight tests under the Jetpack Joint Capability Technology Demonstration program.
As part of the Jetpack JCTD program, Northrop Grumman developed the Freedom 550™ software-defined radio that bridges fifth-to-fourth generation platform interoperability gaps. Jetpack JCTD, which concluded in 2014, was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, Pacific Command and OSD’s Defense Microelectronics Activity. Northrop Grumman’s integrated CNI system provides to F-35 pilots the equivalent capability of over 27 avionics subsystems. By using its industry-leading software-defined radio technology, Northrop Grumman’s design allows the simultaneous operation of multiple critical functions while greatly reducing size, weight and power demands on the advanced fighter. These functions incl