Airbus Network for the Sky
Airbus’ Network for the Sky (NFTS) integrates satellite, air and ground communications and links to enable aircraft, UAVs and helicopters to form an integral part of high-speed military networks for battlefield connectivity
Curtiss-Wright, August 22, 2019 - ASHBURN, VA – Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division congratulated Airbus on the recent successful first test flight demonstration of a connected airborne battlespace scenario.
The test flight was part of the development of Airbus’ Network for the Sky (NFTS) program, which transforms the aircraft into a secure high-speed communications node.
NFTS integrates satellite and ground communications, air-to-ground, ground-to-air and air-to-air tactical links, 5G mobile communications, and laser connections in a resilient, unified, secure, highly interoperable, mesh network. NFTS will enable aircraft, UAVs, and helicopters that currently use networks with limited bandwidth and interoperability to form an integral part of high-speed military networks.
The demonstration was deployed on an Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, and simulated the establishment of multi-Mbit/s wideband communication links between the MRTT, ground forces operatives, a fighter jet, and a combined air operations center (CAOC) on the ground. For the demonstration an MRTT aircraft was equipped with Janus, Airbus’ new tri-band (Ku-Ka-MilKa) satellite antenna, the latest version of the Proteus satellite modem, which is highly resilient against interference and jamming, and Airbus’ aircraft links integration management system (ALIMS).
ALIMS is based on the safety certifiable BET processor system, which is itself based on rugged commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) open architecture modules supplied by Curtiss-Wright. The BET system includes Curtiss-Wright’s DO-254 and DO-178C safety certifiable processing and graphics modules as well as network switching and routing capabilities.
“We are very pleased to congratulate Airbus on the recent milestone test flight of its Network for the Sky solution for secure battlespace connectivity,” said Lynn Bamford, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Defense and Power. “We are proud to support Airbus on this important program, and supply them with a rugged cost-effective size, weight and power-optimized processing solution based on our cost-effective COTS technology.”
The successful test flight demonstration paves the way for the development of the core capability for SMART MRTT connectivity, which will allow the MRTT to act as a high-end communication node. NFTS sets the foundation for the connected airborne battlespace, with the objective to offer a full operational capability by 2020. The NFTS program is part of Airbus’ Future Air Power project and is fully aligned with the development of the European Future Combat Air System (FCAS).
Curtiss-Wright manufactures the products used in Airbus’s ALIM at its facilities in Ottawa, Canada. The products are shipped to Airbus Defence and Space in Madrid, Spain.
About Curtiss-Wright Corporation: Curtiss-Wright Corporation is a global innovative company that delivers highly engineered, critical function products and services to the commercial, industrial, defense and energy markets. Building on the heritage of Glenn Curtiss and the Wright brothers, Curtiss-Wright has a long tradition of providing reliable solutions through trusted customer relationships. The company employs approximately 9,000 people worldwide.
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