Collins Aerospace connects military airborne and ground data through multi-node network

  • New approach expedites data transmission and extends data range
  • Two contracts awarded by U.S. Air Force for up to $21 million

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (May 18, 2021) – As the battlespace becomes more data driven and dynamic, situational awareness and mission success are critically dependent on connecting ground and airborne data quickly across the network. But connecting large amounts of data transported by different waveforms has been a challenge for the warfighter. Now Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp. (NYSE: RTX), is developing two software-defined radios for the U.S. Air Force that will connect and transmit airborne and ground radio data for the first time using a multi-node network. The Software Programmable Agile Radio for Tactical Connected Ubiquitous Systems (SPARTACUS) and Software Programmable Agile Radio Frequency (RF) Tactical Aerial Network (SPARTAN) – will leverage an Open Systems architecture to enable the U.S. Air Force to develop and implement mission-specific waveforms to keep pace with evolving threats.

Large airborne and ground data sets – which may include imagery and video -- are transported by different waveforms making it difficult to get data to key decision makers quickly. By combining commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology with military hardware, Collins Aerospace has made it possible for network nodes to expand and extend the effective range data can travel.

“Our warfighters encounter multiple challenges on the battlefield but being able to communicate between ground and air platforms should not be one of them. The radios developed for the SPARTACUS and SPARTAN programs enable the warfighter to transmit data high data rates and allow them to focus on the mission at hand." We continue to provide solutions that address the most stringent needs of our customers,” said Ryan Bunge, vice president and general manager, Communication, Navigation and Guidance Solutions for Collins Aerospace.

The Collins Aerospace ground radio for the SPARTACUS program will connect ground links to air links in an aircraft. This low-cost, high-performance, radio can support legacy and future waveforms, and can also integrate additional 3rd party waveforms. The Collins Aerospace SPARTAN radio is capable of operating multiple waveforms simultaneously to maintain critical connectivity. The SPARTAN and SPARTACUS radios share common design elements, supporting a wide variety of waveform capabilities including multi-node directional data links and beyond-line-of-sight SATCOM links.

For over 85 years, Collins Aerospace has remained a world leader in the design, development, expertise and integration of airborne and ground communication systems including over 30 years of providing data link equipment to the U.S. military.

About Collins Aerospace

Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp., is a leader in technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace and defense industry. Collins Aerospace has the extensive capabilities, comprehensive portfolio and broad expertise to solve customers’ toughest challenges and to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global market. For more information, visit

About Raytheon Technologies

Raytheon Technologies Corporation is an aerospace and defense company that provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government customers worldwide. With 195,000 employees and four industry-leading businesses ― Collins Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Raytheon Missiles & Defense ― the company delivers solutions that push the boundaries in avionics, cybersecurity, directed energy, electric propulsion, hypersonics, and quantum physics. The company, formed in 2020 through the combination of Raytheon Company and the United Technologies Corporation aerospace businesses, is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.

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