FAST provides network-centric operation for situational awareness and rapid decision-making in an airborne tactical environment using MANET interoperable with Internet Protocol and Link 16 networks.
FAST supports missions that require dynamic network management without pre-mission planning, improves tactical communications, and adds mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) to existing Link 16 terminals prior to introduction of emerging future technologies. “The ability to send and receive data in real time reduces the chance of fratricide, duplicate assignments, and missed targets.” said Steve DiNome, BAE Systems’ program manager for FAST.
FAST, developed by BAE Systems with a team of engineers from SRA and MITRE, completed the first spiral with a flight test in 2006 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The flights demonstrated the ability to add high-speed Internet Protocol connectivity to the MIDS Fighter Data Link. The demonstrations were performed with a four-node network using an Air Force F-15E, a Beechcraft King Air, and two ground stations.
The U.S. Air Force has selected BAE Systems and SRA International to develop the second spiral of the Flexible Access Secure Transfer (FAST) waveform into the Multifunction Information Distribution System Low Volume Terminal 1 (MIDS LVT1). The $7 million contract will enable the MIDS LVT1 to simultaneously transmit and receive both standard Link 16 and FAST waveform messages.