Posted by John McHaleLEIDEN, Germany, 8 Feb. 2011. Cassidian engineers tested the MIDS (Multifunctional Information Distribution System) in flight operations on the German air force fleet of Tornado combat aircraft. MIDS is part of the standard ASSTA 3 -- Avionics Software System Tornado Ada upgrade program. MIDS is one of the key elements in the capability enhancement of the Tornado. It uses NATO's Link 16 communication standard (STANAG 5516) for the exchange of tactical data. MIDS thus enables the aircraft crew to exchange not only flight, mission, and navigation data but also voice commands, encrypted and in real time, with other aircraft and ground stations. Besides MIDS, the ASSTA 3 standard includes a radio device of the latest NATO standard, a digital video and voice recorder (DVDR), and the integrated Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (LJDAM) which can be guided to its target by means of satellite navigation or by laser. Cassidian has already started to upgrade the first seríes aircraft in Manching. Deliveries of ASSTA 3 Tornados to the German air force are scheduled to start in mid-2012.The German air force received its first ASSTA 2 Tornado at the beginning of 2010. The ASSTA 2 enhancements include modern color screens, a digitized map display, an improved TDASS radar warning system (Tornado Defensive Aids Subsystem), an enhanced navigation system, and more powerful computers.With the support of Alenia in Italy and BAE Systems in England, Cassidian is responsible on behalf of Panavia GmbH for the project management, development, manufacture, and installation of the combat efficiency improvements for the German Tornados. As an industrial partner in the tri-national Tornado program, Cassidian was in charge of developing and manufacturing all of the Tornado's center fuselage sections, and was also responsible for the avionics, the communication system, the flight control computer, and the aircraft's entire computer system.