Northrop Grumman Team Tests AESA Radar

By Tish Drake | June 13, 2007
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Northrop Grumman and its teammates L-3 Communications and Lockheed Martin said they have successfully conducted the first in-flight communications link with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. Synthetic aperture radar map imagery and streaming video were relayed from a Northrop Grumman BAC 1-11 test aircraft to an L-3 Communications ground station. During the mission, the team transmitted and received in full duplex at 274-megabits per second burst rate. The airborne and ground terminals used off-the-shelf L-3 programmable modems with the addition of a new R-CDL waveform. "We took our targeting radar and turned it into a ‘talking’ radar by enabling it to transmit and receive unprecedented amounts of information," said Teri Marconi, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s combat avionics business unit. The Radar Common Data Link (R-CDL) provides a high-speed pipeline to offload data and imagery from a tactical platform. R-CDL uses the AESA radar’s fire control transmitter and antenna to perform high-data rate, two-way communications at long ranges.

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