U.S. Air Force Selects Persistent Systems For AERONet Suite

A ground terminal for the AERONet suite is demonstrated to an international partner by the U.S. Air Force.
Credit: U.S. Air Force

Persistent Systems LLC will supply the communication system at the heart of the Airborne Extensible Relay Over-horizon Network (AERONet) suite that the U.S. Air Force now offers to international partners with light attack aircraft.

The Air Force has requested that the New York-based communications company provide the mobile ad-hoc networking technology to the Nigerian Air Force, which recently accepted delivery of the Sierra Nevada Corp./Embraer A-29 light attack fighter, Persistent Systems says in a news release.

Tunisia and Thailand also have signed letters of offer and acceptance to acquire the AERONet suite. The air forces of both countries operate the Beechcraft T-6C trainer and light attack fighter.

The U.S. Air Force developed AERONet as part of the Continuing Light Attack Experiment program. The service originally wanted to acquire its own fleet of light attack fighters, but cancelled the Light Aircraft Support program after a three-year series of experiments in 2019. Instead, the Air Force pivoted to developing AERONet to offer a communications suite with commercial equipment to international partners.

AERONet was demonstrated in May to the air forces of Colombia, Nigeria, Thailand and Tunisia.

Meanwhile, Persistent Systems believes demand for AERONet will grow as the light attack fighter market expands. Robert Truglia, AERONet program manager at Persistent Systems, noted the recent contract award to L3Harris for the Armed Overwatch program, which will supply 75 AT-802U Sky Wardens to Air Force Special Operations Command.

“Like the aircraft tested in CLAE, these Sky Wardens will be used in coordinated close air support and precision strike efforts in irregular warfare operations,” Truglia said.

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.