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Under the banner of BABELFISH 7, the Royal Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) has demonstrated new technologies which offer a step-change in near real time, secure, information distribution. Working in collaboration with industry partners, Airbus and AirTanker, and utilising the NEXUS Data Platform and RAVEN virtual Communications Node, this new system enables intelligence to be drawn from a variety of sources, whether it be from space, an Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, a ship at sea or land-based system, and processed to provide a combined intelligence picture of hitherto unrivalled detail in near real time.
This type of information architecture can be seamlessly delivered for Land, Sea and Air from a vehicle, backpack, ship or aircraft, but the demonstration sought to show how the system worked in the most demanding environments, proving that if it is feasible to configure a new Information Advantage system at 25,000ft. The RCO hand-carried its deployable systems on board and connected into the new Satellite communications feed, demonstrating a real-time Common Operational Picture, within just a few minutes.
Industry partners Airbus and AirTanker, jointly invested in upgrading the Satellite Communications System on a Voyager, enabling the aircraft to act as an airborne communications node whilst concurrently operating its air-to-air refuelling tasks. This modification, which includes upgraded satellite communications, has been fully certified and remains on the aircraft, available for future operational use when required. The RCO Air Information Experimentation Laboratory continues to work with partners from across Defence to support Multi-Domain Integration trials and experimentation.