The US Air Force (USAF) has successfully integrated F-22 Raptors with F-16 Fighting Falcons during a live, virtual and constructive (LVC) training event.
Four live F-16s and two virtual F-22 Raptors were connected by Northrop Grumman's LVC experimentation, integration and operations suite (LEXIOS) system.
Through LEXIOS, virtual aircraft operated by actual aircrew members participate in the same airspace alongside their live counterparts via networked simulators at full security levels, Northrop said in a statement.
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems satellite and network operations director Martin J. Amen said: "No aircraft goes to war alone.
"With our increasingly joint and networked approach, fighter integration training is extremely consequential to effective execution in combat.
"Although Distant Frontier is a small-scale training event, with this achievement Northrop Grumman has demonstrated that we can provide full-spectrum combat training and truly transform the way pilots train to fight."
The air-to-air combat training exercise was conducted at the USAF's Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex.
The F-16 aircraft were from the Air Force's 80th Fighter Squadron based at Kunsan Air Base, Korea, operating out of Eielson Air Force Base, while F-22s were operated by 90th Fighter Squadron members from simulators at Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson in Anchorage.
Eielson Air Force Base 354th Operations Group commander colonel Brian E. Toth said: "The 353rd Combat Training Squadron with great support from Northrop Grumman is spearheading efforts to integrate LVC elements into day-to-day training.
“As adversaries continually improve their capabilities, the ability to add LVC is critical to best train and prepare F-22 pilots for dealing with the full complement and degree of threats.”
Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the USAF's distributed mission operations network (DMON), which allows dissimilar aircraft platforms located across the globe to seamlessly interoperate and train together in a realistic virtual environment.
Image: A F-22 Raptor tactical fighter aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of Rob Shenk.