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Northrop Grumman proves wireless capabilities of MR-TCDL in simulation

3rd December 2010 - 10:29 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Northrop Grumman Corporation has successfully demonstrated a wireless communications capability extending the Multi-Role Tactical Common Data Link (MR-TCDL) system, increasing its reach and speed while readily restoring communications during a simulated disaster.

"Re-establishing communications is one of the most critical components not only of disaster relief efforts but also homeland security, irregular warfare and defense operations," said Claude Hashem, Northrop Grumman vice president and deputy general manager of the company's Network Communications Systems business. "With this MR-TCDL wireless demonstration, we've just validated the ability to restore the use and combination of video teleconferencing and cellular phone capabilities across an extensive array of Internet and communication platforms that can be easily transported and set up with minimal effort."

To demonstrate MR-TCDL's capabilities, Northrop Grumman created a simulated disaster site with inoperable communications systems along with a command center, other wide area networks and telephone end users. The company then set up a mobile wireless kit that provided video teleconferencing, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), chat and mobile phone capabilities restoring communications to the disaster site via the high-capacity MR-TCDL, a system built by L-3 Communications Systems-West, Salt Lake City.

"This demonstration was accomplished by MR-TCDL's unique ability to perform as a true joint aerial layered network by providing real-time networking connectivity at rates greater than 200 megabits per second via ground, airborne and satellite networks. We were able to demonstrate this using many of today's popular communications platforms, including iPads, iPhones and Skype," Hashem said.

The MR-TCDL system proved it could reach more disadvantaged users with limited or no data access and increase the rate of speed at which data is exchanged between the end users of a transportable ground entry point to restore high-bandwidth communications during disaster relief efforts.

This demonstration also included bridging communications between geographically separated ground entry points through a Gulfstream GII aircraft with the MR-TCDL system installed on it. The aircraft was able to provide line-of-sight coverage to the transportable ground entry point and separately to the command center, providing a communication link that would not otherwise have been achievable.

The Defense Micro-Electronics Activity awarded the 30-month, $59 million MR-TCDL Developmental Test and Operational Test contract to Northrop Grumman's Information Systems sector in January 2009.

Source: Northrop Grumman

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