F-22, F-35 Fighters Don’t Communicate Well With Each Other Written 4 April 2018

Bloomberg News reported that due to the design of their communication systems, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II fighters “have a difficult time communicating with each other” – despite the fact that they “both function as airborne shepherds of America’s flock of older combat aircraft.” The F-22’s Intra-Flight Data Link (IFDL) is “much older than the system used on the newer F-35,” and while it can “receive data from the F-35 and other allied aircraft, such as the F-16 and Eurofighter Typhoon, it can’t transmit the vast array of situational data it collects.” The F-35, in contrast, is equipped with a “multifunction advanced data link (MADL) to gather and share information with other F-35s” and allied fighters. F-22 and F-35 pilots “currently must use secure voice links” to communicate with each other, and the method has proven effective in both training and simulated combat, according to a Lockheed Martin F-35 test pilot. The US Air Force “doesn’t plan to begin fixing the communications problem until 2021, when the F-22 fleet is scheduled to have the system upgraded.” In the meantime, Lockheed and other companies are “working on near-term fixes for the F-22’s communications problems.” 
More Info (Bloomberg News)