“…Northrop Grumman Corporation has successfully demonstrated a data link for connecting aircraft in highly contested airspace for long-range command and control through an open architecture network. The experiment, which linked a Firebird UAS (unmanned aerial system) with a Scaled Composites Proteus HALE (High-Altitude, Long-Endurance) research aircraft, is a critical milestone in the evolution of a distributed multi-domain battle management command and control architecture that will provide 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 in the observe, orient, decide and act (OODA) loop – the decision-making chain for threat engagements.
This demonstration is a key step toward harnessing the power of a network into critical domains for national security missions. The two aircraft were linked 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 ISR mission, and connected back to a cloud-based 5G network testbed through a novel prototype multi-level security switch.
Tom Pieronek, chief technology officer and vice president of research & technology at Northrop Grumman, commented: “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 [Joint All-Domain Command and Control] JADC2 strategy. 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…”