DB - Digital Battlespace

USAF develops AERONet prototype

14th May 2019 - 13:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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A team at US Air Force Base Hanscom is developing a prototype combat system capable of providing video, voice, chat and C2 to partner nations, the air force announced on 9 May.

The Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network (AERONet) implementation can provide non-Link 16-enabled US and partner nations the requisite data to enhance battlespace intelligence superiority by providing near-real-time situational awareness.

The team has designed the airborne node to be versatile, integrating into fixed wing, rotary and unmanned aircraft platforms from multiple partner nations. The system has three nodes, each with distinct combat capabilities: the airborne node is a radio and computer hybrid that users can attach to nearly any aircraft. It receives and relays voice and chat and pipes full motion video to and from any other node in the system. Dismounted soldiers use the ground node, which looks like a tablet and satellite-radio hybrid. It can run on Android technology and provides operators with airborne C2 capability from smartphones or tablets.

The final node, a reach-back C2 tactical operations centre, provides access to all the information flowing through AERONet from their soldiers at the tactical edge.

The system will be demonstrated during exercise Bold Quest, which is tailored to experiment with interoperability among NATO and non-NATO nations, in Finland in May 2019.

AERONet’s range can vary, depending on the system setup, from dozens of miles to scores of miles. The team is also working towards an over-the-horizon version.

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