U. S. Air Force successfully flight tests Rockwell Collins battlespace information solution on AC-130 Gunship
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa . - The U.S. Air Force’s AC-130 Gunship fleet recently reached an important milestone with the successful first flight of a modified AC-130 that provides the platform with unprecedented access to battlespace information. The upgrade features the Rockwell Collins Data Link Processor (DLP) and OpenEdge™ net-enablement software hosted on an Integrated Processing Cabinet (IPC 8303) to provide seamless integration of Link 16 and Cursor on Target (CoT) functionality.
Rockwell Collins supplies the data and display processing systems to BAE Systems, who will integrate the Link 16 capabilities onto the platform. Twenty-five aircraft are planned to be modified under a Flexible Acquisition and Sustainment Tool (FAST) prime contract from Lockheed Martin.
“This low-cost solution makes use of Rockwell Collins’ Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) for simple and seamless integration on the AC-130 that will greatly enhance the warfighter’s situational awareness,” said Phil Jasper, vice president and general manager of Mobility and Rotary Wing Solutions for Rockwell Collins.
With this modification, AC-130 aircraft can exchange critical battlespace information with ground and airborne participants. In particular, it will provide locations of friendly and enemy aircraft, ships and ground forces, allowing the AC-130 to take on a mission commander role. The upgraded AC-130 aircraft uses Link 16 to provide real-time, jam-resistant secure transfer of combat data, voice and relative navigation information over widely dispersed battle elements. Blended with existing Gunship display systems, users gain a significant improvement in situational awareness by exchanging data over a common communications link that is continuously and automatically updated in real time. Each participant in the communications link is able to electronically see the battlespace, including assigned targets, threats and imagery.
The Air Force’s 46th Test Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base conducted an initial flight test. The Rockwell Collins solution demonstrated Link 16 messaging between an AC-130, a ground station at Hurlburt airfield, a System Integration Lab (SIL) at Eglin Air Force Base and an F-16 aircraft, using terrestrial and airborne networks.
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