CASSIDIAN has reached an important milestone in the testing of the latest capability standard ASSTA 3 (Avionics Software System Tornado Ada) for the German Air Force fleet of Tornado combat aircraft. In January 2011, Cassidian in Manching began the flight testing of a Tornado with an ASSTA 3 hardware and software configuration approximating that of series production. The primary goal of these tests is to verify and evaluate the function of the newly installed MIDS (Multifunctional Information Distribution System) in flight operations.
MIDS is one of the key elements in the capability enhancement of the Tornado. It uses NATO's Link 16 communication standard (STANAG 5516) for the exchange of tactical data. MIDS thus enables the aircraft crew to exchange not only flight, mission and navigation data but also voice commands, encrypted and in real time, with other aircraft and ground stations. Besides MIDS, the ASSTA 3 standard includes a radio device of the latest NATO standard, a digital video and voice recorder (DVDR), and the integrated Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (LJDAM) which can be guided to its target by means of satellite navigation or by laser. The integration and launch behaviour of these precision weapons were verified during test flights in Vidsel, Sweden, in September 2010.
Cassidian has already started to upgrade the first seríes aircraft in Manching. Deliveries of ASSTA 3 Tornados to the German Air Force are scheduled to start in mid-2012.
The German Air Force received its first ASSTA 2 Tornado at the beginning of 2010. The ASSTA 2 enhancements include modern colour screens, a digitised map display, an improved TDASS radar warning system (Tornado Defensive Aids Subsystem), an enhanced navigation system and more powerful computers.
With the support of Alenia in Italy and BAE Systems in the UK, Cassidian is responsible on behalf of Panavia GmbH for the project management, development, manufacture and installation of the combat efficiency improvements for the German Tornados. As an industrial partner in the trinational Tornado programme, Cassidian was in charge of developing and manufacturing all of the Tornado's centre fuselage sections, and was also responsible for the avionics, the communication system, the flight control computer and the aircraft's entire computer system.
Source: CASSIDIAN tests MIDS data transmission system on the Tornado
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