Lockheed Martin has been awarded a US$14.75m (A$16.2m) contract by the US Navy to develop a Ku band datalink interface for the MH-60R ‘Romeo’ helicopter.
The SAU 07000 Ku band link will replace or complement the current C-band microwave communications link, providing an expanded capability in the transfer of voice, video, radar and acoustic data between aircraft and ship.
“The SAU 07000 interface establishes point-to-point internet-equivalent connectivity between the MH-60R and the ship, enabling both to publish and subscribe for information,” said George Barton, director of Naval Helicopter Programs at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration. “With the enhanced interaction between the air and ship, the host ship can take fuller advantage of the Ku band pipeline’s capability, thereby giving the strike group commander greater situational awareness in the area of operation.”
“The SAU 07000 interface is an important step in integrating the MH-60R into a secure and interoperable naval communications network as part of the Navy’s network-centric warfare objective,” added CAPT Dean Peters, MH-60 Multi-Mission Helicopter program manager. “The interface also will prepare the MH-60R for future mission capabilities, such as over-the-horizon communications relay and connectivity to the US Defense Department’s Global Information Grid.”
The MH-60R is under consideration along with the NFH90 to replace the RAN’s current S-70B Seahawks. The USN has taken delivery of 48 of a planned 300 MH-60Rs.