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Link 16 is a standardized communications system used by DoD, NATO, and Coalition forces for transmitting and exchanging real-time tactical data using links between allied military network participants.

Also known as TADIL J, today’s Link 16 networks are specifically designed to support theater-wide engagements, with SA, C2, and Information Exchange Requirements (IERs) across the entire theater Area of Operations (AO).

Fast flyers share a similar situation, as friendly and enemy positions need to be identified hundreds of miles away and the Link 16 IERs that are used within this domain are specifically for major engagements and include rapid changes in both friendly and hostile positions.

Now with the introduction of low-flying helicopters and ground node Link 16 users, IERs are much more localized in their AO (pre-defined geographic regions that are much smaller than those for high, fast flyers).

Compared to a pilot in the air, who can see or communicate with other aircraft up to hundreds of miles away, dismounted ground forces are limited by the curvature of the Earth and the terrain they are in so the distance and speed at which they maneuver also impacts their IERs, including how often their position (called a Precise Participant Location and Identification or PPLI) needs to be updated.

It’s important to understand that Link 16 is still a favored data link by military forces despite the development of Link 22, the newest NATO standard for tactical information exchange between military units.

The object of Link 22 was to replace the aging Link 11 standard, complement Link 16, improve allied interoperability and enhance mission performance.

The Link 22 standard was also developed to overcome weak points of earlier data links. Such weak points include Link 11’s lack of robustness, susceptibility to interference, and low data rate.

Link 16’s weaknesses include a short range and the use of civil aviation frequencies.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Principles and Features of Link 16 Systems, a 3-day course designed to help participants understand Link-16, how it works, tools, and techniques associated with it.

Principles and Features of Link 16 Systems is a combination of theoretical and practical concepts. The practical module includes individual/group activities, and workshops. The case studies and projects are chosen from the real-world cases and scenarios.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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