Northrop Grumman has flight demonstrated new in-flight connectivity through an open architecture network for long-range command and control (LRCC) in contested airspace.
This is the first time a new mission-specific transceiver and multi-level security data switches were integrated into open architecture wide-area networking. It also saw the use of commercial technology.
During the flight test, the Scaled Composites Proteus established a link with Firebird uncrewed air vehicle (UAV) via an advanced line-of-sight data link.
Scaled Composites Proteus is a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) research aircraft. Firebird can also be flown manned.
The aircraft carried out a simulated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission.
It then used a new prototype multi-level security switch to connect back to a Cloud-based fifth-generation (5G) network testbed.
The data link used for the demonstration featured low intercept probability/low detection probability characteristics such as anti-jam properties.
The company considers this experiment as a key milestone in the distributed multi-domain battle management command and control architecture evolution.
Northrop Grumman research and technology chief technology officer and vice-president Tom Pieronek said: “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.
“Northrop Grumman remains committed to delivering capabilities that maintain strategic advantage for the US and its allies across all domains and against all adversaries.”
Last month, Northrop conducted a proof of concept (POC) demonstration to validate its advanced gateway system’s open architecture nature.
During this testing, Northrop’s platform-agnostic gateway systems were integrated with an L3Harris-developed High-Capacity Backbone (HCB) capability.