Northrop Grumman has demonstrated its Freedom 550 gateway radio terminal that performs as a communications relay among fourth and fifth-generation aircraft.

Performed during an open mission systems (OMS) flight trial led by Lockheed Martin, the demonstration saw the Northrop solution being used as part of a gateway to link a fifth-generation F-22 Raptor with a fourth-generation F-18 Hornet communicating via Link-16.

During the test, the Northrop’s terminal was on board a Lockheed Martin U-2 Dragon Lady, offering intra-flight data link (IFDL) connection to the F-22.

"The OMS standard enabled significant reuse of capabilities previously developed with the working group."

Moreover, the terminal used OMS standards and applications to integrate with the rest of the OMS systems on the platform, the company stated.

Northrop Grumman Information Systems communications division vice-president and general manager Jeannie Hilger said: "The foundation of this successful achievement, particularly under a quick-reaction timeline, was Northrop Grumman’s proven products in fifth-to-fifth and fifth-to-fourth gateways and our work with the OMS collaboration working group.

"The OMS standard enabled significant reuse of capabilities previously developed with the working group."

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Meanwhile, the demonstration further validated the US Air Force’s OMS acquisition initiative, quickly taking advantage of new or improved capabilities at a reduced cost.

Moreover, the demonstration ensured that Northrop Grumman can integrate an OMS solution with another prime contractor’s system, the company stated.

Northrop’s fifth-to-fourth Gateway is based on the Freedom 550 that is developed as part of the Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration (JCTD) programme, which was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).

According to the company, the Gateway has achieved more than 400 hours and proved its capability to enable various aircraft to communicate with each other without modifying the platforms.