An extraordinary briefing slide from Northrop Grumman’s press conference on the B-2 at AFA last week has perhaps inadvertently tipped me off to the US Air Force’s new airborne networking
strategy. [Click on the picture below to see a larger image.]
This slide about the B-2′s networking roadmap offers the first detailed glimpse I’ve seen of the USAF’s latest networking strategy for all airborne platforms, and reveals some very significant changes in the architecture.
Most importantly, gone is the Rockwell Collins Tactical Targeting Networking Technology (TTNT) from the picture. Instead, its chief competitor — the Harris Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) — is listed. The MADL is the baseline data link for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. TTNT’s exclusion from the list may indicate that MADL will also be added to the F-22.
Another very interesting new term introduced is the “Advanced Tactical Data Link” (ATDL). This would appear to introduce a new networking technology that has the power to connect all of the disparate data links already in operation. I’m wondering if this is a new term for the “Objective Gateway” program, or perhaps some new technology?