Tornado GR4, in flight

TIEC will enable Tornado GR4 pilots to join the digital battlefield, meaning they will be able to communicate in near real-time with other friendly forces, gaining information on the position of all friendly and hostile forces, while passing their own information to other participating units.

The aircraft, flown by BAE Systems Test Pilot John Lawson, took off from Warton aerodrome in Lancashire and was airborne for around an hour, during which time it successfully made contact with the supporting E3D Sentry aircraft and the Tactical Data Link Support Unit at RAF Waddington.

John said: "We joined the TIEC network very quickly and got all the testing done in about forty-five minutes."

"TIEC is an information data link that passes information directly into the cockpit from bases such as the support unit at RAF Waddington and radar stations, as well as other aircraft such as the E-3D Sentry. This capability really widens the information available - it will be a big improvement over the traditional use of radio and it gives Tornado crews a much bigger and clearer picture of where everyone is, who they are and what they are doing."

In an emerging era of Network Enabled Capability, it is essential for the UK's frontline combat aircraft to be able to exploit the information provided by new, resilient, high-capability information infrastructures of which Tactical Data Link (TDL) networks, accessed through TIEC, form a key part.

TIEC is one element of the Capability Development and Sustainment Service, a contract which underlines the Company's capabilities in the area of readiness and sustainment, which accounted for around 40% of BAE Systems' revenue in 2009.

BAE Systems is expected to complete development flying of TIEC on Tornado during 2012. This will lead to Aircraft Design Authority clearance mid 2012 with delivery of an operational capability later that year.

About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is a global defence, security and aerospace company with approximately 107,000 employees worldwide. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. In 2009 BAE Systems reported sales of £22.4 billion (US$ 36.2 billion).

For more information, please contact
Debbie Stott, BAE Systems
Tel: +44- (0)1772 855840 Mob: +44 (0)7801 716476

Andy Bunce, BAE Systems
Tel: +44 (0) 1772 852714 Mob: +44 (0)7801 716448