Multifunction Advanced Data Link
Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) is a future data waveform to provide secure data-linking technology between stealth aircraft. It began as a method to coordinate between F-35 aircraft (the Joint Strike Fighter), but HQ Air Combat Command wants to expand the capabiltiy to coordinate future USAF strike forces of all AF stealth aircraft, including the B-2, F-22, and unmanned systems. MADL is expected to provide needed throughput, latency, frequency-hopping and anti-jamming capability with phased Array Antenna Assemblies (AAAs) that send and receive tightly directed radio signals. MADL uses the Ku band.
The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics directed the Air Force and Navy to integrate MADL among the F-22, F-35 and B-2, to one another and to the rest of network.
As of 2010, the Air Force has canceled upgrade plans for the F-22 to receive MADL citing technology maturity risks.
Critics contend that since Link-16 is the standard by which U.S. and Allied aircraft communicate, upgrades to Link-16 radios should be supported that can provide the same capabilities as MADL while maintaining interoperability.
MADL's line of sight nature and limited range restrict the scenarios where it can be used to connect beyond a four aircraft flight.
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