Something that has never been fully explained, (to tactical weenies like me), is why the proposed initial delivery of 16 F-35 Lightning II, 5th generation, all-singing-all-dancing, they-don't-get-better-than-this strike fighter, is why that delivery will not be capable of operating in a normal NATO environment.
Also missing is a feature known as a Link 16, which allows highly
advanced aircraft to exchange data, such as text messages, with ships
and other, older aircraft in real-time.
Not to mention that it displays a full tactical picture to the pilot. That system will not come to the F-35 until the Block 4 upgrade. Lockheed Martin is keeping very quiet but that upgrade doesn't show up until 3 years after the initial delivery - whenever that is.
Well, Link 16, the NATO standard for Tactical Data Link is one of those things that you wouldn't think would be left out - ever. At least not in a brand new airplane.