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Originated in the 1970s, link 16 has evolved over time to include Small Tactical Terminals (STTs), the installation of Link 16 capable radios on platforms as small as ATVs, and the AN/PRC-161 handheld radio that pushes Link 16 capabilities further down to individual dismounted users.

More recently, the DoD has expanded Link 16 capabilities to help U.S. and coalition military forces adjust to new mission needs, enhance its situational awareness, adapt to new technologies and improve warfighter safety.

One of those capabilities focuses on Concurrent Multiple Reception (CMR) in which a radio can demodulate and decrypt multiple messages from multiple users simultaneously. This works something on the order of a car radio picking up three or four stations simultaneously instead of zeroing in on a single FM station.

CMR could be particularly effective with positional data enabling more frequent, secure updates on the location of friendly and enemy forces. The data from multiple messages received simultaneously would be fused into a common picture.

Experts say that this methodology brings a picture on a tactical situational awareness display that is more robust, especially since the tracks get updated more frequently due to reduced latency. This also results in locations that are more precise.

Link 16 has also enhanced its security protection over time. Link 16 uses two types of encryption including TRANSEC and Message Encryption (MSEC) and thus requires two crypto variables for a Partitioned Variable Mode (PVM) NPG or one variable for CVM NPG.

Link 16 transmissions are protected by encryption devices in the terminal or aircraft electronic systems.

In contrast to other communications link waveforms, Link 16:

  • Improves security
  • Improves jam resistance
  • Improves situational awareness
  • Increases data throughput
  • Increases capacity of information exchanged

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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