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Boeing-built B-52 Stratofortress long-range heavy bomber

Northrop Grumman’s Common Link Integration Processing (CLIP) system has received Milestone C acquisition approval from the US Air Force (USAF), resulting in the fielding of the system.

Upon deployment, the CLIP system will provide enhanced battlefield awareness, communication capabilities and weapons management for the aircrew.

Approved by Air Force Electronic Systems Center, the system achieved Milestone C on the basis of its software maturity, operational assessment, interoperability and supportability, life-cycle affordability and information assurance.

CLIP is a software package that allows existing platforms, with or without a tactical data link or a different data link, to communicate with each other.

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Integrated into the combat weapon and command and control systems, the CLIP software system enables weapon systems to interface with the global information grid, easing crew workload by providing data to automatically retask the weapons system.

The system also provides a common approach to Internet protocol connectivity and integrates tactical data links for navy platforms.

As part of the B-1B Lancer Fully Integrated Data Link programme, CLIP software was successfully integrated during a series of flight tests in 2010 and demonstrated the ability to exchange real-time unit and tracking information.

The integration was done through line-of-sight Link 16 data link and the Joint Range Extension Application Protocol (JREAP) networks, which extends the range of data messages transmission through a satellite channel.

Earlier this year Link 16 and JREAP received A Standards Conformance certification for CLIP from the Joint Interoperability Test Center.

CLIP will be integrated onboard the Boeing-built B-52 Stratofortress long-range heavy bomber and the US Navy’s MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aerial System (BAMS UAS).

The USAF’s B-52 bomber is scheduled to complete its ground and flight tests this year.

Image: USAF’s B-52 bomber will be integrated with an enhanced tactical communication capability known as CLIP. Photo: US Air Force.