The US Army’s Hunter MQ-5B Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) has been equipped and fielded with Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) by Northrop Grumman Corporation.

The TCDL equipped to the aircraft increases data transfer rates and doubles the communications range providing additional payload capabilities.

TCDL establishes interoperability among different US Dod air vehicles and ground stations and also allows for manned aircraft to use unmanned aircraft, their sensors and weapons.

The Hunter will allow additional digital payloads in the future providing the warfighter with an aircraft that can bring multiple sensors enabling more rapid intelligence gathering, monitoring and even targeting of enemy forces.

Northrop Grumman Technical Services’ TCDL programme manager Drew Telford said when they changed from the RQ-5A to the MQ-5B configuration of Hunter, they doubled the endurance of the air vehicle.

“With the data link transition, we have doubled the communications range, giving the warfighter a much larger area of coverage,” Telford said.

The MQ-5B Hunter, deployed for contingency operations in Afghanistan, provides the soldiers with state-of-the-art reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA), communications relay, signal intelligence and weapons delivery.