The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has awarded a contract to Cubic for the development of a common data link (CDL) for unmanned platforms.

Under the terms of the $1.8m contract, the company will work on phase one of a two-phase programme to complete a specified portion of the waveform development for a next-generation CDL, called bandwidth efficient common data link (BE-CDL Rev B), for small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS).

The BE-CDL Rev B system is expected to be used for the communication of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and command-and-control (C2) data from unmanned aircraft to other military communications devices.

Specifically, the data link will maintain full CDL capability and transmit full-motion video and sensor feeds from unmanned aircraft.

Cubic Defense Systems president Dave Schmitz said: "We strive to continually provide innovative communications solutions to our customers and we are proud to be selected to provide a BE-CDL Rev B solution.

"With our offering, we provide a robust, low-latency, high-capacity network supporting tomorrow’s needs today."

"A significant number of US ISR platforms are anticipated to support BE-CDL Rev B links in the future."

A significant number of US ISR platforms are anticipated to support BE-CDL Rev B links in the future.

The CDL system is versatile and has already secured the joint interoperability test command (JITC) specification compliance verification.

Cubic claims the development of BE-CDL Rev B would ensure secure and expeditious SUAS ISR and C2 data transmissions, while using a narrower swath of RF frequencies than the currently used standard CDL (STD-CDL) links.

Other companies working on the phase I include BAE Systems, L-3 Communications, Real Time Logic and Rockwell Collins.

INL is dedicated to supporting the US Department of Energy’s missions in nuclear and energy research, science and national defence domains.

Defence Technology