Data Links and System Integration for Land Forces
Ultra CIS delivers the critical enabling technologies and systems that enable net-centric operations. These capabilities increase the warfighter’s effectiveness by facilitating air-land integration and the secure and timely dissemination of situational awareness and critical information across the battlespace.
These enabling technologies and their integration encompass tactical data links; ISTAR systems and products including advanced targeting pods, unmanned systems and associated command and control as well as video data links for imagery dissemination and exploitation and high-grade cryptographic devices and secure communication systems.
Digital data links for unmanned systems, weapon systems and information exchange
The High-Integrity Data Link (HIDL) is a family of flexible, networkable, software definable digital data links which are optimised to meet highly sensitive, time critical information exchange needs, such as unmanned systems, weapon systems and information exchange between multiple platforms and/or nodes. The HIDL’s unique waveforms and functions ensure robust and covert secure communications with a low probability of interception, detection or jamming.
HIDL has been developed to cope with the most challenging operational requirements. HIDL is typically employed as a secure network allowing relay (beyond line of sight) provision of command and control (of platforms, sensors and weapons), enhanced situational awareness (sensor information dissemination – imagery, EO/IR, GMTI) or other critical information exchange between multiple platforms / nodes.
HIDL for Fire Shadow weapon control and video dissemination
Ultra’s HIDL provides the command and control data link for MBDA’s Fire Shadow, the UK’s new Indirect Fire Precision Attack weapon system, which will be entering into service with the Royal Artillery. HIDL provides a networked two way communications capability to support Operator-In-the-Loop control of the munition so that the Bombardier on the ground can see what the munition sees in real time as well as control its flight path.
Video and tactical data links for situational awareness
Our video data link (VDL) technology is currently installed on the Litening Pod system for the UK Typhoon and Tornado platforms and Merlin helicopters. The VDL replaces existing high or low-band data links, providing full motion video (FMV) and ensuring transmission of encrypted meta-data. The VDL also provides proven interoperability with leading remote video terminals (RVT) enabling the secure sharing of enhanced situational awareness data and imagery with mounted and dismounted ground component elements.
Ultra’s VDL is in service on a number of UK and coalition platforms, providing shared video situational awareness to ground troops on operations. Ultra also supplies its multi-link processor (MLP) to provide Link-11, Link-16, IDM and VMF situational awareness to enabled platforms and HQs.
Systems integration and ISTAR
Ultra’s wide ranging systems engineering experience, combined with its ability to develop and deliver secure communication system architectures results in its powerful capability to act as an independent systems integrator. This capability encompasses complete systems through to sub system on complex platforms. An example of this is the successful delivery of the UK’s loitering munition capability demonstrator, where Ultra was the prime contractor and systems integrator.
Ultra is able to bring together complex ‘systems of systems’ that encompass sensors, data links and networking to deliver a true ISTAR systems capability. An example of Ultra’s success in this area is the UK’s LITENING III targeting pod for which it is prime contractor in the UK for the Typhoon and Tornado. Litening systems continue to be extensively used in current operations providing ground forces with close air support and reconnaissance, and have recently exceeded 30,000 flying hours on UK Tornado aircraft with 99.9% mission availability.
Ultra has a long and proud pedigree of designing, developing, manufacturing and supporting secure communications equipment. As a result Ultra has built up an enviable track record in the provision of certified end cryptographic units (ECUs) and key management technologies to both national and international customers.
Ultra is currently supporting crypto modernisation initiatives in both the UK and the US, delivering the next generation of high-grade programmable cryptographic devices into service. In addition, Ultra has significant experience in the integration and installation of high-grade cryptographic devices into platforms and the development and certification of the wider secure system architectures.