8/8/2007 - San Diego, CA - The team of Rockwell
Collins and Cubic Defense Applications, Inc. announced
that their new Mini-Common Data Link (CDL) system has
been successfully flight tested on a King Air platform
and a Killer Bee Unmanned Aerial System (UAS).
During the testing, which was witnessed by
representatives of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and
Marine Corps, the Mini-CDL demonstrated bi-directional
communications out to 20 miles. The Mini-CDL
prototype, which weighs less than 1.5 pounds,
demonstrated interoperability with existing CDL Rev F
"These tests are an important step in the
development of the Mini-CDL system," said Rick Lober,
senior vice president and general manager of Cubic's
Communications and Electronics business unit. "The
flight tests demonstrated interoperability of the
prototype with CDL-compliant equipment, which will
enable small UAVs to operate in a DoD-standard
communications environment with larger unmanned and
During the initial flight tests, a prototype air
terminal was flown aboard the King Air at Cubic's San
Diego headquarters. The system was also integrated
into Swift Engineering's Killer Bee UAS and flight
tested at the Navy's El Centro Naval Air Facility.
The tests support the military's goal of developing
CDL terminals that meet the payload restrictions of
Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) platforms and
enable data link communication with current ground
systems. Existing common data link systems are too
heavy and too large to fit within the SUAS platforms.
"The Mini-CDL will ensure interoperable
communications for the small UAVs," said Bruce King,
vice president and general manager of Communication
Systems for Rockwell Collins. "It will enable the
Services to equip their smaller airborne vehicles with
a data link that offers much greater capability and
security than those in use today, while meeting DoD
policy and the small size and weight restrictions
required in these types of UAVs."
During the tests, the aircraft successfully
transmitted high-bandwidth streaming video from
on-board video cameras to the ground station below.
The air terminal achieved data rates up to 10.7 Mbps,
approximately three times the speed of a typical cable
modem. The Mini-CDL is designed to operate at rates up
to 45 Mbps and achieves interoperability with other
vendors' units through compliance with the current DoD
CDL waveform specification.
Source: Rockwell Collins Press Release