Collins Aerospace Systems
Denewsjune10 2 Figure

Gateway Grabs Control of RAF Ground Communications

June 10, 2020
This software-defined gateway helps organize tactical ground communications, even when many different radio types and data sources are involved.

To avoid confusion during tactical ground communications, the Royal Air Force (RAF) has chosen the Collins Aerospace Systems FasTAK gateway to keep signals and users straight. The gateway makes it possible to establish an organized tactical view of all connected air, ground, and maritime radio units and enables seamless links among many different types of tactical manpack radio systems, even with the addition of in-field functionality, such as the Collins FalconView military mapping feature. The gateway (see figure) was selected as part of RAF’s Air Support Operations Squadron Digital Command and Control experimentation program.

The FasTAK gateway is part of an easy-to-understand and deploy user interface that does not require a certified data-link manager to setup. It can be integrated into many different tactical radios, including the Collins TruNet™ AN/PRC-162 (V)1 two-channel networking ground radio or a customer’s preferred multiband radio. It can be used as part of a Link 16 terminal that supports J Voice, extended-transmission-range (ETR), and normal-transmission-range (NTR) operation. The gateway is compatible with size-constrained radio designs and requires no special cooling for line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight applications.

The Collins Aerospace Data Link Processor software is crucial to the successful use of the FasTAK gateway. The software runs on standard laptop computer hardware and is JITC certified for rapid Link 16 variable-message-format (VMF) forwarding. The FasTAK software handles translation and forwarding and signals between all radios and data-link terminals in a tactical communications scenario and provides each network with a forwarded situational awareness picture of the other attached networks. The gateway has an integrated router for flexibility in managing data links, radio frequencies, and forwarding. The gateway’s software-based approach provides the flexibility to adapt to new data-link waveforms in future applications.  

“The FasTAK Gateway provides an affordable, complete Link 16 data link picture to tactical ground users and its modular design and software-driven integration approach enables Collins to reconfigure the system to add new data links in the future,” said Heather Robertson, vice-president and general manager of Integrated Solutions for Collins Aerospace. Collins Aerospace Systems is one of four business units that form Raytheon Technologies Corp.