Howdy doody folks. I'm not an engineer, but I do do a lot of open source research and I stumbled across something that looks to circumstantially confirm a suspicion I've had for a while.
It all started with an image, Fig. 1. I came across it googling stuff about the AFTI/F-16. Squint reading lead me to believe it was describing how the F-35's flight control systems descend from AFTI/F-16's. But it was stuck behind a paywall. So I did some more digging...
(Fig 1.) source https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2018-3368
Lockmart came to the rescue, hosting the document for free, for some reason. https://www.lockheedmartin.com/content/dam/lockheed-martin/eo/documents/webt/F-35_Air_Vehicle_Technology_Overview.pdf
Here's the image in a size you can read:
Now, why is this interesting. After a quick skim it occurred to me that the description was of all the infrastructure to take advantage of a DFCS, excepting the computer inputs. There was no substantial mention of AFTI/F-16's DFCS in the paper, which seemed a little weird because that's what it's known for.
So, this leads me to a circumstantial conclusion: The F-35 is quite possibly either already, or may potentially be capable of functioning with decoupled flight controls. What's that mean? I'll let NASA explain.
More reading on DFCS at http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a135870.pdf
EDIT: by chance stumbled across this on the NMUSAF's website