A joint UK and Australian military data centre in Florida has achieved Initial Operating Capability, say the Royal Air Force.

At the Australian, Canadian and United Kingdom Reprogramming Laboratory (ACURL), highly trained specialists compile and test Mission Data File Sets (MDFS). The MDFS are used on-board the Lightning and ‘fused’ with the masses of information gathered by the aircraft’s numerous sensors to show the pilot exactly the information he or she needs to make the right decision.

Commanding ACURL is RAF fast-jet navigator, Wing Commander Gerry McCormack. He said in a press release:

“If for example the enemy radar transmitting belongs to a surface to air missile system or another aircraft, the F-35 has a very high fidelity capability of being able to identify where that target is, what it is doing, how it is behaving and whether it is any threat to me or any of our colleagues. The sensors on it are extremely good but the work that this laboratory does optimises those sensors.

The ACURL enables the Lightning to make sense of the world around it. F-35 has a sophisticated suite of sensors, but without the mission data that this laboratory provides, it cannot make sense of all that information. Without this laboratory, those sensors don’t have anything to compare with the data they are picking up, so it is effectively meaningless. You need a facility such as this to enable those sensors to actually work.

The ACURL has been constructed as a joint UK and Australian outfit, and potentially maybe even Canada in the future. We are really keen that we work alongside our Australian colleagues because they bring with them a whole suite of expertise from other platforms and it makes us stronger. The importance of being here working alongside our American colleagues means that we can not only benefit from their experience in building mission data, but it also means that we can act as a force of innovation within this enterprise and make us all stronger going forward.”

According to the release, 110 personnel from the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Royal Australian Air Force, Lockheed Martin, US Government and US contractors work at the facility.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Didn’t know about this. Very interesting. Why based in the US?

Robert Blay

Why not based in the USA, they build a big chunk of the aircraft. Maybe Lockheed Martin has paid for the facility.


Robert, the unit is based in Florida.


Ooops!Sorry, senior moment.


Ha, that’s ok. 🤙


I would presume its in the US because as it says some US personal are part of this, it is closer to technical and vital manufacturing resources there where no doubt other visiting staff members and experts will go back and forth too, the work is closely related to the base US work it originates from and the location is an excellent location between the UK and Australia and later Canada.


It’s also likely that some or possibly all the technology that is used for the re-programming might not be cleared for export. So we can use it in the States and use the byproduct of the technology. Just not export the technology itself.

Andy P

Its maybe because its braw and toasty in Florida or it could be that its a sort of ‘half way’ which might lure the Canadians in to share the cost. Would be a pretty sweet draft though.


This unit was initially based in FT Worth, TX at the huge LM facility there. It is being moved to Eglin AFB, Florida where the USAF, Navy and Marines have a pilot and maintenance training center.


I am always heartened to hear of more cooperation between the UK and Aus.


Yeh, I agree. Always good to see the strengthening relationship between the UK and Aus. Hopefully we’ll see other relationships start to emerge over the coming months…


There are a number of different Reprogramming Laboratories established. Aside from ACURL, there is one for the Norwegians and the Italians (NIRL), both of which are adjacent to the main US complex (USRL) – its flags are in the background of the photo. These are located at Eglin AFB in Florida under the USAF’s 53rd Electronic Warfare Group (EWG). There’s also a Reprogramming Laboratory at Point Mugu in California that looks after F-35 FMS customers and partners who haven’t built or contributed to their own sovereign reprogramming laboratories. A detailed look from the RAAF perspective is here: http://adbr.com.au/building-data-inside-the-raafs-f-35-mission-data-programming-capability/ The new… Read more »


just wondering how they get the information to their respective national aircraft. there must be some fom of data loader on the aircraft but how does that info get from florida to say marham? not email surely!!!


The US and the UK have (I believe) dedicated fibre lines for security sharing purposes and military comms. I’d imagine they’d be a likely route for the data.
That’s also a reason why this US statement about Huawei on our 5G network as a reason for limiting our intelligence sharing is a storm in a tea cup. We don’t share intelligence with them over 5G…!

Daniele Mandelli

Spot on Joe. The UKUSA agreement goes beyond political spats.


Reading into it they appear to be compiling Electronic Warfare Threat Libraries.

Daniele Mandelli

This is a new one on me. Really interesting.


Good to see members of the Fives I”s working together. All that fuss over Huawey 5G, is it that serious? Possibly. However, I’m sure we can move on and continue to share sensitive intelligence via other operating platforms.