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In general overview, Link 16 is a military tactical data link network used by the U.S. military and its NATO allies that enables military aircraft, ships, and ground forces to exchange their tactical picture in near-real time.

Link 16 also supports the exchange of text, imagery, and digital voice messages.

And, despite Link 16’s success, the DoD is looking to expand Link 16 capabilities even further to maintain the tactical advantage needed to succeed across today’s data-driven, contested battlespace.

One vital idea is Concurrent Multiple Reception (CMR) in which a radio can demodulate and decrypt multiple messages from multiple users simultaneously.

In this modality, positional data is amplified. CMR enables more frequent, secure updates on the location of friendly and enemy forces. The data from multiple messages received simultaneously is fused into a common picture.

What this means for warfighters is that the picture seen on the tactical situational awareness display is even more robust. Tracks get updated more frequently due to reduced latency so the locations are more precise.

An important benefit of a Link 16 system is that its inherent robustness lets commanders build up the resiliency of their tactical networks as part of their Primary Alternate Contingency Emergency (PACE) communications plan for operating in a contested RF environment—something the DoD expects to be the norm.

A Link 16 system is also known for its functional and sturdy design. Link 16 isn’t just a transport layer, it also includes a message set and established business rules for the execution of real-time warfare.

This requires Link 16 units to have situational awareness, transactions for command and control, target designation, and assignment and engagement designations.

Analysts claim Link 16 is also guided by a very good “rule book.” This rule book makes it clear how military personnel communicate when someone gives them an order and how they acknowledge it.

This rule book was originally created during the Cold War, while much of it describes and supports air-war operations, there is also a surface and ground war component.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Overview of Link 16 System Architecture, a 3-day course where participants learn about Link 16 and Link 16 data and how it is transmitted via Link 16 terminals with multiple type of platforms with different architecture including JTIDS, MIDS LVT and MIDS JTRS (using SDR).

You will also learn how Link 16 terminals are used by aircraft, surface ships, ground vehicles, missile defense systems, networked enabled weapons, and command and control networks.

This course is especially designed for electronic warfare, avionics systems engineers, system architects, hardware and software engineers, and employees with little or no Link 16 experience. The course is also useful for those who have experience with Link 16 but have never had any formal training on Link 16 system architecture.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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