Boeing has successfully completed the final design review for the US Air Force’s (USAF) Talon HATE programme.

The Talon HATE programme covers the development of an infrared search and track sensor (IRST) and data-links equipped communications pod, which will improve communication and information sharing among various platforms.

Boeing Phantom Works Advanced Network & Space Systems vice-president Alex Lopez said: "Working with our customer, Boeing rapidly designed and demonstrated this new system to meet an urgent need on an accelerated timeline.

"The system assimilates information in real-time from multiple domains, creating an improved common operating picture for tactical awareness."

Boeing Talon HATE and Derivatives programme director Sean Rice said: "The Boeing team demonstrated communications interoperability between the platforms using these systems during the final design review.

"The feedback and advice gained from pilots, operators and support teams seeking to improve this prototype was vital to this success."

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Scheduled to be initially carried by F-15C fighter aircraft, the pod combines information from fourth and fifth-generation fighter aircraft, national sources and joint command and control assets.

"The system assimilates information in real-time from multiple domains."

The data will then be transmitted over a common data-link for use by joint aircraft, ships and ground stations, improving communication and information sharing across the battlefield.

The single operational picture formed by Talon HATE is claimed to provide soldiers with a capability to more efficiently engage and defend against ‘next-generation’ threats.

Working with industry suppliers, Boeing rapidly developed a Talon HATE system prototype for the US Air Force Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities office within Air Combat Command.

As part of the development, the Boeing team integrated the F-22 aircraft’s intra-flight data link (IFDL) within the multifunctional information distribution system-JTRS (or MIDS-J), which serves as a host for multiple concurrent communications waveforms that are essential for Talon HATE forward operations.

The move marked the first time IFDL was integrated on the MIDS-J system, which is also used on F/A-18 Hornet aircraft.

USAF operational squadrons are scheduled to take delivery of several Talon HATE systems from Boeing in 2015.

Image: An artist’s concept of an F-15C fighter aircraft, equipped with the Talon HATE system. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.

Defence Technology