Innovative antenna technology allows fifth-generation fighter jets to exchange mission critical data and information with other fleet platforms
Honeywell Aerospace (NYSE: HON) has developed and delivered an innovative new communications antenna that will enable the U.S. Military to conduct highly secure communicationsbetween new and older generation aircraft.
Part of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Emerging Capability & Prototyping’s Jetpack 5th to 4th Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program, the technology enables secure communications between the F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor aircraft. It also provides a secure communication link between these aircraft and other key platforms such as legacy fighters, bombers, and airborne battlefield management, command and control aircraft.
Officially named the dual-band advanced tactical data link (ATDL) antenna, the system was developed in conjunction with the Northrop Grumman Freedom 550 Joint Enterprise Terminal and supports both the F-22 Intra-flight Data Link (IFDL) and F-35 Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) data communications. The ATDL antenna system uses Honeywell’s expertise in data communications to provide customers a more efficient solution and requires a dramatically smaller installation footprint than alternatives.
“This is the next evolution in Honeywell’s legacy of improving military aircraft connectivity. The ATDL antennas enables the United States and its allies to communicate between 5th and 4th generation fighters,” said Mike Madsen, president, Defense and Space, Honeywell Aerospace.
“This new system enables critical battlefield communication that was not possible before. The added information available to each pilot will make each fighter more effective, and all of this is done with a compact and more efficient antenna that is easier to install and maintain compared to anything else available.”
How does the ATDL antenna work?
The ATDL antenna incorporates a unique and extremely compact multi-beam antenna packaging design that is based on low-loss, high-reliability, patented technology developed by Honeywell. With this technology, two Honeywell ATDL antennas can handle multiple tasks simultaneously and provide the same coverage as six MADL antennas on the F-35 and six IFDL antennas on the F-22. Additionally, this technology enables legacy military platforms to receive operational and tactical data link information from F-22 and F-35 fighters.
The ATDL antennas were demonstrated as part of the Jetpack 5th to 4th JCTD during the week of March 24, 2014. This program is designed to create and demonstrate how technology will allow fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft to communicate with each other as well as other military aircraft. Northrop Grumman is the lead contractor on the Jetpack 5th to 4th JCTD program, which was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, Pacific Command, and OSD’s Defense Microelectronics Activity.