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Northrop Grumman Touts Data Link’s Performance During Exercise

The MR-TCDL provided extremely fast real-time networking connectivity and exchange during a series of 11 flights.

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Multi-Role Tactical Common Data Link (MR-TCDL) system—which provides real-time networking connectivity—successfully demonstrated during an exercise conducted by the U.S. Pacific Command.

Valiant Shield 2010 was a 10-day integrated joint military exercise among U.S. military forces, conducted in September near Guam, Northrop Grumman says in a written statement.

During a series of 11 flights, the MR-TCDL—which provide real-time networking connectivity and exchange data at extremely fast rates via ground, airborne and satellite networks—used both line-of-sight and Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) data links to transmit real-time data to Valiant Shield operations center personnel participants at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and Anderson Air Force Base, Guam.

The MR-TCDL system is built by L-3 Communications Systems-West, Salt Lake City, and for the exercise, Northrop Grumman integrated MR-TCDL onto a Gulfstream II aircraft and a U.S. Department of Defense Gateway Teleport at Wahiawa, Hawaii, creating a terrestrial network to connect the Gateway Teleport, Hickam Air Force Base and Anderson Air Force Base.

The tests demonstrated the system’s ability to reliably transmit data at rates greater than 200 megabits per second between the aircraft and ground sites, dynamically switching data paths between line-of-sight and WGS as necessary to maintain near constant connectivity, the company says.

The MR-TCDL system also enabled high-definition video teleconferencing between aircraft and ground sites, transfer of instant messages, streaming video, voice over IP connectivity and file transfers between sites.

Northrop Grumman supported Valiant Shield under contracts for both the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.

“The exercise proved MR-TCDL is a terminal that provides high-bandwidth capability to support real-time data transfer to the warfighter while in parallel providing the means for instant and continuous communications among decision makers,” said Claude Hashem, vice president and deputy general manager of the Network Communication Systems business unit of Northrop Grumman’s Information Systems sector. The “MR-TCDL performance exceeded exercise expectations,” he added.