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Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) is a Ku-band based fast switching narrow directional communications data link between stealth aircraft.

It got its start as a way to coordinate between F-35 aircraft (the Joint Strike Fighter) allowing coordinated tactics and engagement to bring significant operational advantages to fifth-generation aircraft operating in high-threat environments.

MADL is a key capability provided by Northrop Grumman’s F-35 integrated communications, navigation and identification (CNI) avionics. MADL provides needed throughput, latency, frequency-hopping and anti-jamming capability with phased Array Antenna Assemblies (AAAs).

These antenna assemblies send and receive tightly directed radio signals in the Ku support capabilities of a narrow directional communications data link between stealth aircrafts, B-2 and unmanned systems.

In other words, MADL is  an advanced communications link that can send information securely between F-35s.

MADL is essential for the growing multinational role of the F-35 program. It gives NATO and other allied countries that fly the jets an opportunity to conduct synchronized operations and explore previously unprecedented missions.

MADL, when operated in conjunction with other F-35 sensors, can achieve the much sought-after goal of sharing threat data and helping the jet find and destroy enemy targets from ranges where it remains undetected. This ability, shown in several wargames in recent years, is something that F-35 pilots point to as a defining reason for its superiority. 

It matters because having sensor fusion and MADL helps avoid potential conflict engagements before getting within visual range. The tactical scenario, more often than not, is going to be solved much further out, which is intended to give F-35s the advantage.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Multifunction Advanced Data Link Training, a 2-day course that covers key principles of MADL, a fast switching tactical datalink (TDL). Participants learn the Genesis of the MADL technology, what MADL is intended to accomplish as well as general MADL functionality.

You will also learn about the problems MADL was designed to solve, review of data link terminology and the goals and objectives of MADL.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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