cessing, other modes of the radar
cannot be run simultaneously.
The aircraft’s electro-optical/
infrared system, the Electro-Optical
Distributed Aperture System
(EODAS), includes the Electro-Optical Targeting Sensor, a development of Lockheed Martin’s Sniper
targeting pod — an 11-foot-long,
400-pound pod used by the
F- 16 fighter — compacted into 200
pounds and installed inside the
nose of the aircraft.
“The EODAS provides a constant bubble of situation awareness
around the aircraft with capabilities
including missile warning, night
vision, surface target detection, and
airborne target detection and warning,” said Bouchard.
“As standalone sensors, these systems (AESA and EODAS) provide
each Lightning II with a formidable
capability,” he said. “When operated
as part of a sensor suite, under control of the mission computer, the two
sensors complement one another
and allow the radar to limit its emissions to a minimum, which is key for
a stealth aircraft like the F- 35.
“The huge amount of situation
awareness developed by these two
sensors can also be shared among
multiple aircraft, making each F- 35
a ‘mini-AWACS,’” he said, referring
to the Air Force’s E- 3 airborne warning and control system aircraft.
The Multi-Aperture Data Link
(MADL), a high-speed broadband
radio link designed specifically for
the F- 35, enables the sharing and
airborne fusion of data from multiple F-35s and greatly expands the
capabilities of a strike package of F-
35s. The number of F-35s that can join in a particular
MADL net is classified, Branyan said.
The F- 35 is the first platform for which a net-ready
interoperability is a key performance factor.
Although MADL is solely a link between F-35s, the aircraft can send and receive mission information between
ground stations, E-3s and E- 2 Hawkeye battlespace management aircraft over legacy data links such as Link 16.
The F- 35’s communications systems are software-programmable, such that they can be reconfigured with
The F- 35’s integrated mission systems will provide pilots with a unified sensor
format and enable them to optimally position their aircraft for engagement.
different or updated waveforms are developed.
Miller said a follow-on development for the F- 35 will
incorporate beyond-line-of-sight communication through
the planned Multiple User Objective Satellite constellation
— scheduled to replace the current Ultra-High Frequency
Follow-On constellation at approximately the same time
as the F- 35 reaches operational capability.
Branyan said the aircraft will be wired for satellite
communications and ready when the new constellation goes in orbit.