The technology milestone was hit during the recent German Air Force Timber Express exercise over Northern Germany and the North Sea. It represents the first time the interconnectivity of the Airbus Defence and Space remote carrier technology in a multi-data link environment has been demonstrated with real fighter aircraft.
The communications, which also included Tornado fighters and NATO cooperative ESM Operations, were established within the framework of existing IT security regulations and NATO classification levels.
During the exercise, the remote carriers, which currently use the Compact Airborne Networking Data Link (CANDL), were successfully connected to Link16, the operational tactical data link of the armed forces.
The remote carriers were not only visible to all tactical combat aircraft of the Air Force, but could also receive and execute orders without the need for technical modifications to the aircraft. This marks a first in Europe and is also a further milestone towards a future combat air system (FCAS).
A further step was the demonstration of interoperability with the NATO concept of Co-operative ESM Operations (CESMO). This is a reconnaissance network spanning several branches of the armed forces aimed at locating threat systems in the electromagnetic spectrum in real time.
Airbus has succeeded in integrating the remote carriers as full component in the CESMO reconnaissance network. The simulated reconnaissance results of the remote carriers were made immediately available to the CESMO Fusion Element during the exercise and merged in real time with other reconnaissance results such as those of a flying Tornado ECR.