Northrop Grumman's CLIP ready for fielding
Northrop Grumman has announced that its Common Link Integration Processing (CLIP) system being developed for the US Air Force (USAF) has received Milestone C acquisition approval, paving the way for the fielding of this software package and providing aircrews with enhanced capabilities to communicate critical tactical information.
CLIP software, designed for a USAF programme that also includes US Navy (USN) platforms, translates and formats messages and allows existing platforms without a tactical data link, as well as platforms with different data links, to communicate with each other.
Northrop Grumman is integrating CLIP in B-52 aircraft and the USN MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aerial System (BAMS UAS), a maritime version of the USAF RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned air vehicle.
According to Northrop Grumman, the Air Force Electronic Systems Centre approved the CLIP Milestone based on criteria including software maturity, operational assessment, interoperability and supportability, life-cycle affordability and information assurance.
The CLIP system provides a common approach to integrating tactical data links and Internet protocol connectivity. The CLIP software is integrated into combat weapon and command and control systems to enable tactical data link capabilities. The system was integrated as part of the B-1B Lancer Fully Integrated Data Link program demonstrated in 2010, proving the ability to exchange real-time unit and tracking information via the line-of-sight Link 16 data link and the Joint Range Extension Application Protocol (JREAP) networks. JREAP extends the range over which data messages can be transmitted via a satellite channel. The Joint Interoperability Test Centre issued Link 16 and JREAP A Standards Conformance certification for CLIP earlier this year.
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