Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully demonstrated a data link for connecting aircraft in highly contested airspace for long-range command and control through an open architecture network.
This experiment is a critical milestone in the evolution of a distributed multi-domain battle management command and control architecture that maintains decision superiority for the U.S. military and allies.
The flight demonstration is the first integration of a new mission-specific military transceiver, multi-level security data switches, and open architecture wide-area networking, utilizing commercial technology into the observe, orient, decide and act loop – the decision-making chain for threat engagements.
This is a key step toward harnessing the power of a network into critical domains for national security missions. The flight demonstration linked the Scaled Composites Proteus, a High-Altitude, Long-Endurance research aircraft, with a Firebird, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with the capability to be flown manned, through an advanced line-of-sight data link with low probability of intercept/low probability of detection characteristics that includes anti-jam properties.
The aircraft established a link, performed a simulated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission, and connected back to a cloud-based 5G network testbed through a novel prototype multi-level security switch.
“Northrop Grumman technologies, built on advanced low size, weight and power electronics, enable integrated and secure communications across domains supporting the Department of Defense’s JADC2 strategy,” said Tom Pieronek, chief technology officer and vice president, research & technology, Northrop Grumman.
“Northrop Grumman remains committed to delivering capabilities that maintain strategic advantage for the U.S. and its allies across all domains and against all adversaries.”