AF unveils airborne qualified radio able to support SRW

In today’s complex battle environment, networked communications is key to the success of ground operations. The challenge facing the military today is how to extend that modern connectivity to air assets to enable support of ground operations.

That challenge was met recently in a live demonstration using a contractor’s ARC-210 software defined radio (SDR), the Army’s Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) and U.S. Air Force HH-60G aircraft, assigned to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., to connect multiple ground sites with air support during various tactical scenarios.

Being able to enable air-to-ground networking and share real-time voice communication, imagery and data with soldiers enhances mission success and increases warfighter survivability.

The testing was a joint effort between the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Test Center (AATC) in Tucson, Arizona, and Rockwell Collins. The Air Force, having recently selected to upgrade their fleet of Combat Search and Rescue, or CSAR, helicopters with a four-radio, ARC-210 communications suite, partnered with a contractor to demonstrate this new networking capability.

“This new data capability is what our community has desired for a long time.  This is just one significant enhancement that our new communications suite upgrade brings to the warfighter,” said Lt. Col Jeff Peterson, Rescue Program Manager at AATC.

The live-fly exercise took place on the U.S. Army’s Electronic Proving Ground at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and involved live demonstrations using a current production ARC-210 advanced airborne SDR and a multiple node SRW ground network. The SRW network test was comprised of the test HH-60G and multiple nodes on the ground, both fixed and mobile, and included testing and interoperation with current fielded Army standard ground portable radios.

The demonstrations conducted included simultaneous air-ground data and voice communications, sharing of combat tracking data and imagery transfer.

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