Harris lands Navy helicopter data link work

Harris Corp. will test and prepare for production a high-speed digital data link for Navy helicopters under a three-year, $66 million contract.

The award is for the pre-production and testing of the Ku-band Common Data Link Hawklink system for the MH-60R Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System helicopter. Hawklink is a high-speed digital data link that transmits tactical video, radar, acoustic and other sensor data from MH-60R helicopters to their host surface ships.

The CDL Hawklink production program could be worth more than $350 million by 2015 for Harris if the Navy exercises all options to equip as many as 350 aircraft and ships.

The technology is part of the service's effort to transition to a network-centric architecture for advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance networking.

Harris will act as the prime contractor, working with BAE Systems to prepare for production of field change kits to retrofit ships and to furnish radio terminal sets for MH-60R aircraft. The work also includes integrated logistics support and analysis, sustaining engineering, training, non-recurring and recurring engineering changes and technical, administrative and financial data.

This award is the culmination of a multiyear development effort between the Navy, Harris and BAE Systems that began in 1999 to prove the feasibility of using Tactical Common Data Links for the Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System application. Harris and BAE Systems successfully demonstrated an operational system consisting of both an airborne terminal and a shipboard terminal.

With the ability to transmit over distances greater than 100 nautical miles at data rates exceeding 21 megabits per second, the CDL Hawklink will eliminate interference with Cooperative Engagement Capability, improve fleet interoperable communications, improve bandwidth capability of the LAMPS system and facilitate transition to a network-centric architecture as the baseline for fleet CDL interoperability.

Harris of Melbourne, Fla., has 14,000 employees and had annual sales of about $3.5 billion in 2006. The company ranks No. 22 on Washington Technology's 2006 Top 100 list of the largest federal IT contractors.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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