Northrop Grumman has announced it will soon test a rapidly developing and fielding new open-architecture communications system to support its Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS).
Dubbed gatewayONE, the system will allow multiple 5th generation combat aircraft to effectively communicate with each other and with 4th generation aircraft, unmanned systems, ground-based systems, and other key systems securely, thus providing enhanced situational awareness via the ABMS ‘net’.
Due to their secure communications, 5th generation aircraft such as the F-22 and F-35 have only been able to share data with each other through discreet low-observable systems such as IFDL (F-22) and MADL (F-35), but have been unable to share that data directly with other joint-force elements.
“We’re constantly advancing capabilities in networking and communications focused on large-scale modular, open architecture systems-of-systems solutions,” Northrop Grumman’s vice president, communications, airborne sensors and networks division, Roshan Roeder said in a statement. “We are working closely with the Air Force to design and deliver to the field, advanced communications systems quickly and affordably.”
Northrop Grumman has extensive experience with such systems having developed the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) which provides secure beyond-line-of-sight communications between different generation systems via a its Freedom Radio-equipped EQ-4B Global Hawk or an E-11 Global Express platforms, but this system is only effective between a limited number of systems.
The company also demonstrated its Gulfstream GII equipped Airborne Gateway testbed to the ADF in March 2016 at Exercise Jericho Dawn, providing a secure datalink gateway between ARH Tiger, E-7A Wedgetail and ground-based forces.