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Northrop demos Freedom 550 gateway radio

6th November 2015 - 10:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Northrop Grumman has demonstrated the capabilities of its Freedom 550 gateway radio terminal during an Open Mission Systems (OMS) flight trial led by Lockheed Martin, the company announced on 4 November. 

The test, conducted at Edwards Air Force Base in California, saw the Freedom 550 terminal used as a communications relay among 4th and 5th-generation aircraft.

The terminal linked a fifth-generation F-22 Raptor, which uses the stealthy Intra-Flight Data Link (IFDL), with a fourth-generation F-18 Hornet communicating via Link-16, the standard data link used by many military platforms. The Freedom 550 was on board a Lockheed Martin U-2 Dragon Lady, providing the IFDL connection to the F-22, and used OMS standards and applications to integrate with the rest of the OMS systems on the platform.

Jeannie Hilger, vice president and general manager, communications division, Northrop Grumman Information Systems, said: ‘The foundation of this successful achievement – particularly under a quick-reaction timeline – was Northrop Grumman's proven products in fifth-to-fifth and fifth-to-fourth gateways and our work with the OMS collaboration working group. The OMS standard enabled significant reuse of capabilities previously developed with the working group.’ 

The 5th-to-4th Gateway is based on the Freedom 550 developed as part of the Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration (JCTD) programme. It enables fifth-generation F-22 and F-35 Lightning II and fourth-generation F-18, F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft to communicate with each other without modifying the platforms.

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