Team Announces Successful Flight Tests of Miniature Common Data Link Prototype

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 compliant systems.

"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 manned systems."

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



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