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Link 16 is a military tactical data link network designed to provide warfighters operating on land, in the air and at sea with secure, anti-jam Line-of-Sight (LoS) communications.

As such, Link 16 advances situational awareness in the chaos of battle. Needless to say, Link 16 cybersecurity is essential so data between allies does not become known to adversaries.

In Link 16, both the message and the transmission are encrypted. The message is encrypted by the encryption device for JTIDS (Joint Tactical Information Distribution System) in accordance with a crypto variable specified for message security or MSEC (message encryption).

Transmission security or TSEC (transmission encryption), is provided by the same crypto variable or by a second crypto variable, which controls the specifics of the JTIDS/MIDS (Multifunctional Information Distribution System) wave form. For MIDS, the MSEC and TSEC are provided by a circuit board embedded in the terminal.

But advocates are calling for even greater Link 16 cybersecurity as this important data link branches out into even more advanced applications.

One of those developing Link 16 technological advances is a LEO (Low Earth Orbit) constellation satellite with Link 16 capabilities.

Under a $50 million Air Force Research Lab contract, Viasat has been developing the LEO satellite to provide reliable low latency communications that could survive in a shooting war.

Because LEO constellations move across the sky relative to the earth, dozens or even hundreds of them are needed to offer global coverage. But that characteristic also helps make them more survivable, by comparison with a single satellite in geostationary orbit.

Connecting the satellites to Link 16 terminals would give a new global reach to Link 16’s reliable and widely deployed tactical communications system. 

Want to know more? Tonex offers Link 16 Cybersecurity Crash Course, a 4-day course that covers Link 16 TDL operational security and cybersecurity requirements for managing and exchanging Link 16 data.

Learn about security of Link 16 and datalink implementations needs to interoperate STANAG 5602 Standard Interface for Multiple Platform Link Evaluation (SIMPLE) Link 16 standard (Reference 8) protocol. Participants also Learn how to analyze security and cybersecurity at node and message level model for various JTIDS J-messages messaging.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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