SAN DIEGO, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- New communications and tactical data sharing between disparate ground troops was demonstrated by Lockheed Martin using software designed radios.
The Airborne and Maritime/Fixed Station Joint Tactical Radio System, used in a recent Army exercise, relayed voice, data and imagery from a test bed AH-64 Block III Apache helicopter to ground forces over the Internet-Protocol enabled Soldier Radio Waveform, the company said.
"The recent aerial demonstration of the JTRS capability in an Apache helicopter represents a significant step forward in maturing the tactical network and providing a significant force multiplier for our Warfighters," said Col. Raymond Jones, assistant joint program executive officer, JTRS. "By continuing to build out the aerial layer of the network, we will be providing enhanced range, over the horizon capability, and situational awareness to our soldiers on the ground."
Lockheed reported during the exercise Apache pilots, using a pre-engineering development model AMF JTRS radio, communicated directly with six disparate ground elements using JTRS Handheld Manpack Small Form Fit Rifleman Radios. Automatic relay of information was achieved without the aircraft having to deviate from its close air support mission.
"The Apache's participation not only emphasized the significant benefits of extending the network to the air, it also showcased the power of the network in linking the capabilities of the Apache directly to soldiers on the ground," said Col. Shane Openshaw, Apache program manager. "Soldiers depend on Apaches every day and this exercise successfully demonstrated that we are on the right path to improving the ability of aviation forces to support our ground soldiers."
"Our team is delivering capability, and moving forward in creating a mobile, secure and affordable network that will provide an enormous operational benefit for our forces for many years to come," said Mark Norris, vice president of Lockheed Martin's AMF JTRS program.
Lockheed Martin's AMF JTRS team includes General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and BAE Systems.