BAE Systems has completed another successful demonstration of its Flexible Access Secure Transfer (FAST) networking waveform. FAST, an effort to modernize the NATO-standard Link 16 computer data exchange format, is a wireless networking protocol developed for airborne tactical networking. The demonstration included Internet Protocol (IP) connectivity, Voice over IP, mobile ad-hoc networking, streaming video, and imagery. The demonstration was part of an $8 million contract performed in concert with SRA International Inc., prime contractor for the U.S. Air Force Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts.
“The test demonstrates the capability to modernize Link 16 to operate in a net-centric environment today,” said Joseph McCarthy, vice president and general manager of communications and tactical networks for BAE Systems.
The demonstration was conducted on the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Fighter Data Link terminals and the MIDS Low Volume Terminals, modified to be FAST-compatible. MIDS is the NATO name for the communication component of Link 16. Personnel from the Aeronautical Systems Center, Global Cyberspace Integration Center, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, Naval Air Systems Command, and other agencies attended the demonstration.
The event follows a FAST flight demonstration at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in March 2006, which demonstrated the ability to add high-speed Internet Protocol connectivity to the MIDS Fighter Data Link.
FAST provides network-centric operation for situational awareness and rapid decision-making in airborne tactical environments. FAST is being developed as a cost-effective solution available to all U.S. and coalition forces, providing a real-time exchange of multimedia communications including data, voice, and video.
About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is the premier global defense and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. BAE Systems, with 96,000 employees worldwide, had 2006 sales that exceeded $27 billion on a pro forma basis, assuming BAE Systems had owned Armor Holdings, Inc. for the whole of 2006.