Data Link Solutions (DLS), a joint-venture between BAE Systems and Rockwell Collins, is set to test enhanced communications capabilities between fifth and fourth generation fighter jets.

Under a contract awarded by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), the company will demonstrate the multifunction advanced data link (MADL) on the multifunctional information distribution system (MIDS) joint tactical radio system (MIDS JTRS).

For the testing that is planned to be conducted in the third quarter of this year, the company will use a MADL data link on a MIDS JTRS transceiver, communicating with fifth-generation stealth fighter reference implementation.

"This planned laboratory demonstration continues DLS’ commitment to helping resolve the fifth to fourth generation communications gap."

DLS director Doug Schmidt said: "Identified as a goal of the US Air Force Air Combat Command, the MADL demonstration serves as a battlespace risk reduction activity for the broader fifth to fourth generation gateway procurement.

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"This planned laboratory demonstration continues DLS’ commitment to helping resolve the fifth to fourth generation communications gap, while improving situational awareness and mission success for our allied forces."

As part of the contract, DLS will partner with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, and jointly work with SPAWAR to support the sharing of mission-critical data and enhance communications capabilities to improve situational awareness across the battlespace.

MIDS JTRS features link 16 enhancements, which include improved output, frequency re-mapping and programmable crypto, and can incorporate additional communication protocols, including the airborne networking waveform (ANW).

The new communication and data link terminal can be used onboard aircraft, such as fighters, tankers, transport, command and control, and rotary wing, along with maritime and fixed sites.