FURTHER DETAILS have been released about the Ministry of Defence contract awarded to BAE Systems in January for upgrading the Tornado GR4 (see Communication Upgrades, March p6).
Valued at £200 million, the Capability Upgrade Strategy (Pilot) [CUS(P)] involves the design, development and integration of an upgraded secure communications system, introduction of a tactical data link, and integration of the Paveway IV precision guided bomb.
Implementation is planned in two stages; capability A covers release to service for multi-mode secure communications system (SCOT); Paveway IV precision guided bomb; and software enhancements to improve the GR4’s controls and displays. The Tactical Information Exchange Capability (TIEC) data link will follow under capability B. Under a separate £84 million contract, not directly linked to CUS(P), BAE Systems will design and develop Capability E for the Harrier GR9 and GR9A fleet. This involves integrating a replacement video recording system, a modified auxiliary communications navigation identification panel (ACNIP), fitting a second secure communications channel, and introducing TIEC.
TIEC integration is achieved utilising existing cockpit displays, and minimal new controls, optimised for the different architectures of the Tornado GR4 and Harrier GR9.
The system comprises a common Link 16 terminal, IDM modem and processing, that uses the existing displays, controls, radios and interfaces of each type.
Link 16 is a secure, jam-resistant, high capacity link that uses J-series message sets. IDM is a point- to-point secure digital message transfer medium, typically used for communications between aircraft and forward air controller, in variable message format. Tornado GR4 receives a software update for the existing TARDIS display that generates a map overlay with upgraded common symbol generator software for TV TAB displays in the rear cockpit. The Harrier GR9 receives new software installed on a new printed circuit card in the processing unit, which generates the same symbology on the existing cockpit display.