Link 16 is an encrypted radio frequency widely used by the U.S. military and NATO allies to share critical information.
Link 16 terminals are deployed aboard aircraft, land vehicles and ships to facilitate the exchange of data and images in standard message formats.
Over the past few years, the Department of Defense has expressed strong interest in expanding Link 16 capabilities to maintain the tactical advantage needed to succeed across today’s data-driven, contested battlespace.
One solution is Concurrent Multiple Reception (CMR) in which a radio can demodulate and decrypt multiple messages from multiple users simultaneously.
Multi-message capability allows CMR devices to share data between specific users while still receiving information from the broader network, all in a single timeslot. This is expected to increase the overall network efficiency and capacity because multiple networks can operate in the same theater of operation.
The heart of Link 16 is the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS). The DLS MIDS LVT represents the latest generation of Link 16 equipment incorporating secure data and voice into a single, small, affordable and highly reliable unit. MIDS Low-Volume Terminals (LVTs) are on most U.S. Air Force fighters, bombers and tankers, most U.S. Navy aircraft, ships, and US bases and air defense systems.
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.
Want to know more about Link 16? 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, including:
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