Boeing successfully completed an evaluation flight of the B-52 Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) interphone system earlier this month, according to the manufacturer.
The six-hour flight from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., evaluated the interphone system's readiness for formal flight tests and accomplished formal flight tests of other CONECT capabilities. The system enables crew members to communicate with one another, other aircraft and the ground.
"The successful interphone evaluation keeps the CONECT team on track to complete our ground and flight tests by the end of October," said Scot Oathout, B-52 program director for Boeing. "CONECT will greatly increase the B-52's flexibility by enabling additional capabilities for re-tasking of missions while in flight."
The modification increases crews situational awareness, which will add more communication data links and full-color LED displays that feature symbols of mission data overlaid on color moving maps. Additionally, CONECT provides an improved future infrastructure on the aircraft, which include an onboard, high-speed network. Milestone C authorization for low rate initial production is expected in mid-2012.
CONECT allows for the B-52 to participate in net-centric operations, Oathout says, which means real-time digital information can be exchanged from the aircraft to other ground-based and airborne assets.