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18 Sep 07. Northrop Grumman Corporation demonstrated two advances in systems technology this week : Common Data Link (CDL) operations and an advanced targeting data link using the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA)
Quint Network Technology (QNT).

Northrop Grumman successfully demonstrated live Common Data Link (CDL) operations using the Modular Integrated Link Electronics System (MILES) at the Naval Air Warfare Center, Patuxent River, Md.

Using a shipboard-configured phased-array antenna, the MILES autonomously acquired and tracked moving ground and unmanned aerial vehicle targets. During tracking, the MILES prototype automatically relayed electro-optic and infrared imagery and video data in both directions.

“This is a whole new path for naval communications. What we’ve proven here is that we have a real turn-key solution to shipboard common data link communications with phased-array antennas,” said John Jadik, director of Tactical Communications of Government Systems Division for Northrop Grumman.

The MILES is a low-cost, modular solution for C4ISR data link communications within the Navy. The MILES open architecture is predicated on a multi-band, multi-channel, software-programmable terminal and operates in all weather conditions. The demonstration was conducted using CDL waveforms for the surface terminal (shipboard) configuration, while using a prototype version of the phased array antennas destined for the Zumwalt class destroyer (DDG 1000). The MILES prototype is located at NAVAIR’s Surface Aviation Interoperability Laboratory (SAIL) at the Naval Air Warfare Center, Patuxent River, Md.

The demonstration met or exceeded all of the required objectives including:

– Interoperability with other CDL radios
– Tracking with multiple beams or channels
– Digital beam-combining for stronger, clearer signals
– Target hand-off between adjacent array panels

“I was extremely pleased with today’s demonstration,” said Douglas Crowder, MILES program manager at the Office of Naval Research. “The team has exceeded our expectations in all regards and will no doubt carry this success into future demonstrations of this important tactical capability. The rigorous systems engineering that went into the initial development of the individual components, and the integration of these components into a turn-key system clearly paid off.”

The MILES surface prototype test represents the first step toward creating a MILES airborne terminal. A risk-reduction test for the airborne terminal is planned for November 2007. The airborne system will undergo further testing with existing terminals to confirm its adherence to Navy and Office of the Secretary of Defense-mandated.

On September 18th Northrop Grumman successfully demonstrated an advanced targeting data link using the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) Quint Network Technology (QNT). This achievement was accomplished as part of a cooperative effort between the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) Electronics System Center (ESC), DARPA, Northrop Grumman and Rockwell Collins.

DARPA’s QNT program is jointly funded with the USAF’s Global Cyberspace Integration Center (GCIC), ESC, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the U.S. Navy. The demonstration occurred in conjunction with ESC’s Laser Target Imaging Program and “Bold Quest,” a U.S. Joint Forces Command-sponsored military exercise.

Installed in a Northrop Grumman LITENING AT targeting system, the QNT data link provided encrypted, bi-directional airborne transmission of streaming video, and bi-directional cursor-on-target metadata-tagged still imagery, both at full sensor resolution allowing ground forces to receive imagery and its associated geo-positional data for battlefield situational awareness, aircraft position, sensor point of interest and target selection.

Using advanced waveforms and forward error correction coding, packetized video

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