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Leonardo SDR to equip NATO AWACS fleet

14th April 2021 - 15:18 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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SWave SRT-800 software-defined radio. (Photo: Leonardo)

A new and improved SDR from Leonardo will be installed on NATO's AWACS fleet.

Boeing has chosen the new SWave SRT-800 from Leonardo as the software-defined radio (SDR) of choice for the NATO fleet of 14 E-3A Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.

As a compact and lightweight SDR, the SRT-800 can equip most manned or unmanned fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, Leonardo claimed in a 14 April announcement.

The AWACS fleet is one of the few military assets owned and operated by NATO, so it must maintain operational viability.

The SRT-800 will modernise the E-3A with secure and cyber-resilient air-to-air and air-to-ground connectivity. The SDR will be installed into the E-3A mission system, replacing avionics units such as UHF/VHF radio; SATCOM; the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System; and a crypto device.

SDRs are versatile and can be reconfigured via a software update without changing the hardware. This makes the radios adaptable and inexpensive. 

NATO’s AWACS fleet has been adapted over time to keep up with technological and geopolitical changes. Leonardo claimed that its SRT-800 would enable the E-3As to continue secure communications until their expected out-of-service date in 2035. 

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