Military Embedded Systems

Cyber-resilient software-defined radio to equip NATO's E-3A fleet


April 15, 2021

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

NATO photo.

ITALY. Leonardo has been contracted by Boeing to provide its new software-defined radio (SDR), the SWave Airborne SDR SRT-800 for NATO’s fleet of E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. The AWACS fleet is being modernized by Boeing to maintain its operational viability through 2035 under the Final Lifetime Extension Program (FLEP).

According to the company, Leonardo’s SRT-800 will aim to provide the AWACS fleet with secure and cyber-resilient air-to-air and air-to-ground connectivity. Available for civil and military customers, the low size, weight and power requirements of the SRT-800 are intended to allow it to be fitted to most fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, manned or unmanned.

Ideal for retrofit, the company claims that a single SRT-800 radio can replace a number of avionic units that have traditionally been separate units, including UHF/VHF radio, SATCOM, SINCGARS, and a crypto device.

Under the contract, Boeing claims it will integrate the SWave Airborne SDR SRT-800 into the mission system of the E-3A aircraft. Because the radios are software-defined, they can then be re-configured when needed via a software update without having to modify the hardware.


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