Battlefield WiFi connects US Marines to F-35 fighter jets and V-22 Ospreys

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Newly-minted US Marine 2nd Lieutenants at the valedictory war game of the US Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course were recently tasked to carry out an airborne raid on San Clemente Island, located off the California coast. The mission was to fly in on fast-moving V-22 Ospreys, and wipe out missile launch sites to clear the way for US warships waiting to move in. The young US Marine Corps officers then marched 14 miles overnight to seize an airfield so simulated F-35 fighter jets, serving as their air-support, could land. Since the F-35 is not fully operational, ‘CATBird’ test-aircraft equipped with the same high-tech sensors that can be found on the F-35 were used instead.

A Marine F-35B in vertical-landing mode

A Marine F-35B in vertical-landing mode

Frustrated with their standard-issue communications gear, the Marine officers were able to set up an improvised wireless network using commercial Samsung Tablet devices. This alternative means of overcoming standard communication equipment shortcomings, dubbed ‘Battlefield WiFi’, proved to be a huge success, as Marines on foot and Marines riding in their fast-flying V-22 Ospreys could exchange intelligence, rewrite plans, and receive reconnaissance data from the simulated F-35s. When units on the ground were unable to transmit information directly to each other due to terrain blocking their signal, the Marines were able to relay the message via a V-22 flying overhead. Additionally, and when their 40-pound Wasp drones (carried in their rucksacks) couldn’t send surveillance footage to the Marines’ tablets, the Marines simply took digital photos of the Wasp control screen and relayed them to each other.

The F-35B

The F-35B in flight

After $80 billion spent on developing the F-35 fighter, the US Military has been focusing on other types of combat roles for this new 5th generation stealth fighter jet, and it appears that ‘Battlefield WiFi’ has proven very useful to the F-35’s ultra-sophisticated sensors. With the next generation of high ranking military commanders currently growing up accustomed to the everyday technology of this era, the future capabilities of US military warfare look to be highly promising.

 

 

About Author

A self-taught writer with some college (a nice way of saying that he didn't graduate), Nate fell in love with pocket billiards in his mid teens, and has spent more than half of his life as a student of the sport. Yes, it's a sport. He will argue incessantly if someone claims otherwise. He also loves video games, his favorite game being Dark Souls, followed by Dark Souls as a close second, and The Last of Us being his fourth favorite game (Dark Souls is his third favorite game). He has a tendency to ramble on when you strike up a conversation with him, so asking him for a short bio is a dangerously boring proposition and not recommended. Otherwise he tends to keep to himself. He is also an editor and founding member of Tech Gen Mag, living in southern California.

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