Since the days of WW1 when aircraft really saw their first integration into the sphere of the battlefield, the challenge has been how to effectively connect ground and air forces, and how to achieve this without compromising the security of vital intelligence. Today, mission success relies upon seamless, secure communication between supporting aircraft and land forces in order to establish a common understanding of the situation on the ground, to ascertain the location of friendly and enemy forces, and to achieve the desired effects required by ground forces from supporting aircraft.
The fundamental mission set of Close Air Support (CAS) has remained largely unchanged for over a hundred years, what has changed however is the capability of ground forces to target aircraft conducting CAS operations, significantly increasing the risk to both the pilot and the platform, as well as subsequently increasing the risk for ground crew should the aircraft be engaged or destroyed.
For the aircrew, one of the key advantages of the advanced targeting and surveillance capability forces now have has been negating the need to establish the location of ground targets and threats whilst simultaneously navigating the aircraft and de-conflicting their flight path from other aircraft. Providing the pilot with a clear picture of the operating picture in real time reduces the risk of pilot error that could have potentially devastating consequences including fratricide, as well as increasing mission effectiveness and safeguarding both ground and air forces and platforms.
Ultra’s digital video data link (dVDL) technology is significantly increasing NATO air land integration. It is currently installed in the LITENING targeting pod for NATO Typhoon and Gripen aircraft, and is compatible with the NATO ROVER ground receiver, maximising interoperability and facilitating operations across all NATO forces to ensure mission success. The dVDL transmits full motion video and the associated encrypted meta-data to ground and surface forces.
Read more here about how Ultra’s dVDL delivers enhanced situational awareness data and imagery with mounted and dismounted ground component elements.