CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, 3 Dec. 2007. The team of Rockwell Collins and Cubic Defense Applications Inc., a defense unit of Cubic Corp., announced that its new Mini-Common Data Link (CDL) system has been flight tested on a AAI-Aerosonde unmanned aerial system (UAS) platform. This demonstration brings CDL capability to one of the smallest Naval Air Systems Command Tier 2 class platforms and follows flight tests on a King Air aircraft and Killer Bee UAS.
During the testing, which was witnessed by a representative of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), the Mini-CDL demonstrated bi-directional communications with the USMC's new Team Portable - CDL (TP-CDL) terminal. The Mini-CDL prototype, which weighs less than 1.5 pounds, also demonstrated interoperability with the Department of Defense's existing CDL Rev. F compliant systems. Additional lab testing validated interoperability with the 10.71B waveform.
"The integration of this new cutting-edge technology into AAI's Aerosonde will provide this small, expeditionary unmanned aircraft system with greater capabilities, increased interoperability and the ability to integrate more sophisticated sensors," says Steve Reid, AAI's vice president of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
"These tests are an important step in the development of the Mini-CDL system," says Rick Lober, senior vice president and general manager of Cubic's Communications and Electronics business unit. "The flight tests demonstrated the prototype's interoperability type with CDL-compliant equipment, which will enable small UAVs to operate in a DoD-standard communications environment with larger unmanned and manned systems. This is an important capability for our U.S. Marine Tier 2 offering. A Request for Proposal is expected later this year."
During the tests, the aircraft transmitted high-bandwidth streaming video from an on-board video camera to the ground station below. The air terminal achieved data rates up to 10.7 Mbps, approximately three times the speed of a typical cable modem. The Mini-CDL is designed to operate at rates up to 45 Mbps and achieves interoperability with other vendors' units through compliance with the current DoD CDL waveform specification.