DARPA tests teleconference link with F-15 in flight

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., 9 Feb. 2006. Avaya Inc. today announced that IP telephony has taken to the skies, linking an F-15E fighter jet in flight with a remote government command center in California and a three-star general at the Pentagon via a multi-party, IP conference call.

Feb 9th, 2006

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., 9 Feb. 2006. Avaya Inc. today announced that IP telephony has taken to the skies, linking an F-15E fighter jet in flight with a remote government command center in California and a three-star general at the Pentagon via a multi-party, IP conference call.

The test was successfully conducted at the Naval Air Weapons Center in China Lake, Calif., for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) -- the central research and development organization for the Department of Defense.

During the test, Avaya demonstrated a multiparty IP conference call connecting the aircraft's weapon systems officer with two parties at the China Lake Integrated Battlespace Arena Command Center and with Lt. Gen. William T. Hobbins(1) at his desk in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

"The call lasted for more than 20 minutes, and the audio quality was excellent," said Ryan Greene, a Boeing engineer who worked on the test with Avaya and participated in the call.

In addition to the multiparty conference call, successful tests were completed using the IP telephony network to call an in-flight, E-2C Hawkeye surveillance aircraft equipped with an Avaya IP Softphone.

The DARPA tests are part of the preparations for the upcoming 2006 Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment (JEFX) administered by the U.S. Air Force. As a next step, Avaya has collaborated with Boeing to develop specialized IP telephony software for the F/A-18 aircraft that will be part of the 2006 JEFX. In addition, Avaya Labs has developed a SIP toolkit that is allowing Boeing to integrate a SIP softphone into the F/A-18 aircraft, which will allow the pilot or weapon systems officer to communicate via a secure wireless link.

The wireless connectivity for Avaya's IP telephony network was provided by a Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) demonstrated during the tests. TTNT is an IP-based technology that connects tactical aircraft and ground operations to enable real-time communications. The F-15E was provided for the test by Boeing, while the E-2C Hawkeye was provided by the U.S. Navy.

Both tests used Avaya's industry-leading Communication Manager IP telephony software hosted on an Avaya Media Server. Avaya Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Enablement Services were used to ensure connectivity with standards-based endpoints for telephony, instant messaging, conferencing and collaboration. The multiparty conference call involved both an Avaya IP phone and an Avaya SIP IP telephone at China Lake and a traditional desk set at the Pentagon. A third-party SIP softphone running on a Windows-based auxiliary computer was used in the F-15E cockpit, connecting the pilot to the conference via a secure wireless link.

"Being able to call a tactical aircraft from anywhere in the world and vice versa is a critical combat capability unprecedented with legacy communications," said Lt. Col. Stephen Waller, USAF, DARPA program manager for the Tactical Targeting Network Technology program.

Communication has previously been limited to two-party calls using 'push to talk' radios, with critical information relayed from one party to the next. With IP telephony, all those involved can speak naturally and communicate dynamically, in real time -- from the Air Operations Center to targeting and safety crews, with simultaneous transmission of actual local ground and/or aircraft data. The end result is quicker and better decision making and improved safety for U.S. pilots on the front lines.

Features of Avaya Communication Manager IP telephony software designed to specifically support the government's mission include:
* Avaya Multiple Level Precedence and Preemption capabilities that allow officials to override nonessential calls during times of emergency, and
* "blast dialing" capabilities that can quickly establish preset conference calls among critical contacts.

In addition, Avaya IP telephony solutions were the first in the market to be certified by the government's Joint Interoperability Test Command for use in critical military command and control missions worldwide.

Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than a million businesses worldwide, including over 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet protocol (IP) telephony systems and communications software applications and services.

Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business applications -- and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services -- Avaya helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior business results. For more information, see www.avaya.com.

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