6/13/2007 - BALTIMORE, MD -- Northrop Grumman
Corporation and its teammates L-3 Communications, Inc.
and Lockheed Martin Corporation have successfully
conducted the first in-flight communication's link
with an active electronically scanned array (AESA)
"We took our targeting radar and turned it into a
'talking' radar by enabling it to transmit and receive
unprecedented amounts of information," said Teri
Marconi, vice president of Northrop Grumman's combat
avionics business unit. "We're revolutionizing the way
that data is collected, stored and distributed on the
The Radar Common Data Link (R-CDL) represents the
most advanced concept and approach in providing a
high-speed pipeline to offload data and imagery from a
tactical platform. R-CDL uses the AESA radar's fire
control transmitter and antenna to perform high-data
rate, two-way communications at long ranges.
Synthetic aperture radar map imagery and streaming
video were relayed from a Northrop Grumman BAC 1-11
test aircraft to an L-3 Communications ground station.
During the mission, the team transmitted and received
in full duplex at 274-megabits per second burst rate.
The airborne and ground terminals used off-the-shelf,
L-3 programmable modems with the addition of a new
This capability complements tactical data links and
supports potential future missions conducted by the
Lockheed Martin fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
This will allow pilots to relay important combat
information to the global information grid (GIG) in
Marconi added that the flight test represents the
beginning of new connectivity to the GIG and the next
step in network centric warfare.
Source: Northrop Press Release