Rockwell Collins is to demonstrate a software-programmable radio to the USAir Force. It is being offered as a solution for a USAF requirement to equip fighters to operate in the future civil communication, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) system.

The demonstration, planned for mid-2000, will involve Collins' miniature modular digital radio (MMDR) and a general purpose processor programmed with CNS/ATM software developed for the company's commercial DLM-900 datalink manager.The test will demonstrate the system's ability to handle typical CNS/ATM functions, such as controller-pilot datalink communication, says programme manager Matt Herlocker.

The demonstration is part of the USAF's FANTASTIC (Future Air Navigation and Traffic Avoidance Solution through Integrated Communication/Navigation/ Identification) programme, under which Collins is studying ways to equip Boeing F-15s and Lockheed Martin F-16s for what the US military terms global air traffic management (GATM).

Because space is at a premium in fighters, according to Herlocker, the FANTASTIC programme is looking at ways to integrate GATM functionality into boxes such as the ARC-210 radio or identification friend or foe system.

The software-programmable MMDR could replace current VHF/UHF radios while providing GATM capability, he says. The digital radio, which is packaged into a single SEM-E-size module, can be programmed in flight to operate at any frequency between 30MHz and 2GHz.

The FANTASTIC programme is scheduled to end in January 2001, Herlocker says, and will produce a roadmap for introducing GATM capability into F-15s and F-16s, with the emphasis on commercial off-the-shelf solutions.

Source: Flight International