Harris Corp. tests U.S. Navy MH-60R helicopter Hawklink data link

MELBOURNE, Fla., 1 May 2009. Harris Corp. has completed flight and ground testing of its Ku-band Common Data Link (CDL) Hawklink system for the U.S. Navy's MH-60R Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System helicopter. CDL Hawklink is a high-speed, digital data link that transmits tactical video, radar, acoustic, and other sensor data from the MH-60R helicopters to their host surface ships.

Harris is the prime contractor for the CDL Hawklink program, and BAE Systems is a subcontractor.

Both the ground test and a series of flight tests validated the performance and all attributes of the CDL Hawklink system, says a company official. The tests, completed at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., demonstrated the system's compatibility with the full set of MH-60R helicopter and host ship interfaces, as well as the system's ability to support multiple, simultaneous helicopter missions.

The tests also proved the CDL Hawklink system's ability to support additional sensor interfaces, ensuring availability of a wide range of information from different sources, and to incorporate a Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL)-compliant terminal on the helicopter.

"This key milestone in the multi-year CDL Hawklink effort validates the link's advanced functionality as well as its ability to work with legacy sensor interfaces," says Wes Covell, president, Harris Defense Programs. "The successful testing also exemplifies the outstanding cooperation among the Navy, Harris, and BAE Systems."

Developed as part of the CDL Hawklink program, the AN/ARQ-58 terminal will replace existing C-band AN/ARQ-44 data links on the MH-60R helicopters, and the AN/SRQ-4 (Ku) terminal conversion kit will upgrade existing C-band AN/SRQ-4 links on surface ships. Current MH-60R-equipped support ship classes include DDG 51, FFG 7, and CG 47.

With the ability to transmit over distances greater than 100 nautical miles at data rates exceeding 21 megabits per second, the CDL Hawklink system is designed to eliminate interference between the current C-Band Data Link and the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). It also will improve the fleet's interoperable communications, improve bandwidth capability of the MH-60R system, and facilitate transition to a network-centric architecture which will provide the baseline for fleet CDL interoperability.

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