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Link 16 is a military tactical data link network that allows all branches of the military to communicate in near real time in the heat of combat.

Link 16 is extremely valuable as it allows military personnel in all branches to have very important situational awareness of the enemy as well as their own war fighters.

Link 16 originated in the 1970s and ’80s to provide situational awareness, tracking and targeting information from airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft and warships to Air Force F-15 and Navy F-14 interceptors. The system allowed aircraft to see the radar track data of the AWACS’ radar, which had an operating range of 300 miles.

An additional benefit of the system was that it allowed data link equipped aircraft to receive the radar tracking data without the need for the tactical aircraft to activate their own radar systems.

Once the system was installed on F-15s and F-14s, the ability to see the extended radar picture was revolutionary.

Over the years, Link 16’s technological capabilities have evolved. For example, Viasat introduced systems such as its Small Tactical Terminal (STT) to meet growing needs of mobility. Weighing 15 pounds and the size of a loaf of bread, the STT can fit in a variety of platforms. STT opened the way to introducing Link 16 into a variety of new platforms, such as helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and ground vehicles.

Link 16 capable radios have been installed on platforms as small as four-wheel all-terrain vehicles. The more recent AN/PRC-161 handheld radio pushes this capability further down to individual dismounted users.

Changes in data sharing networks have also accompanied the expansion in the availability of Link 16 systems across platforms. For instance, the older Link 16 system only supported 20 simultaneous users. But the state of the art version of Link 16 can handle a network of tens of thousands users across multiple net numbers.

Want to know more about Link 16 training? Tonex offers Advanced Link 16 Training, a 3-day course that covers advanced Link 16 concepts, Link 16 network architecture, Link 16 planning, Link 16 security, Link 16 cybersecurity, Link 16 operation and Link 16 management.

Additionally, Tonex offers another 45 courses in Aerospace & Defense Engineering, such as:

ARINC 429 Training (2 days)

Combat Systems Engineering Training (3 days)

Radar Systems Design and Engineering Training (4 days)

DO-178C Training (3 days)

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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