L-3 to provide airborne digital data link to connect helicopters and Navy surface warships

U.S. Navy helicopter avionics experts needed a digital data link to enable helicopters to share sensor information in real time with Navy surface warships. They found their solution from L3 Communications-West in Salt Lake City.

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U.S. Navy helicopter avionics experts needed a digital data link to enable helicopters to share sensor information in real time with Navy surface warships. They found their solution from L3 Communications-West in Salt Lake City.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced a $25.6 million contract to L3 to build, test, and support AN/SRQ-4 Hawklink common data link systems for the Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopter.

The AN/SRQ-4 is a situational awareness system that links the MH-60R helicopter with surface warships in the area. It provides command and control (C2), sensor data transfer, data link operation, and built-in test.

The system provides real-time use of aircraft sensors to extend situational awareness over the horizon by enabling surveillance helicopters to data-link radar, video, networking, and acoustic data to Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, Ticonderoga-class cruisers, and other surface warships. Its control systems run on modern open-systems architectures, L3 officials say.

The AN/SRQ-4 supports anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-ship surveillance and targeting (ASST) missions; receives and distributes full-motion video; is IP-enabled and built to work with future network-centric applications; is compatible with the SAU7000 digital messaging interface; and has ruggedized construction and modules that are qualified to Navy shock and environmental standards.

The system is interoperable with the CDL family of airborne terminals not only on the MH-60R, but also on the Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the P-3 Orion surveillance turboprop aircraft, and the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol jet.

It has a touchscreen graphic user interface for control and status, and a growth path to dual-link operation, L3 officials say. The system is interoperable with the Navy SQQ-89 anti-submarine warfare system and shipboard Navigation Sensor System Interfaces (NAVSSI). It is software-configurable for Common Data Link (CDL) waveforms.

For this contract, L3 will do the work in Salt Lake City; Atlanta; Mountain View, El Cajon, Oxnard, Sunnyvale, and Salinas, Calif.; Exeter and Dover, N.H.; Derby, Kan.; Boise, Idaho; York Haven, Pa.; Bohemia, N.Y.; Littleton and Stow, Mass.; Providence, R.I.; Fort Worth and Cedar Park, Texas; Minnetonka, Minn.; Phoenix; and Toronto, and should be finished by August 2020. For more information, visit L3 Communi­­cations-West online at www2.l3t.com/csw, and Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.

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