The main application of Link 16 is as an air and missile defense command and control system.
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.
One example is with positional data, where 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. Essentially, the picture seen on tactical situational awareness displays would be more robust.
Multi-message capability also 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.
Recently, Link-16 found its way into CubeSats with the XVI, a 12U CubeSat built as a technological demonstrator for ViaSat by Blue Canyon Technologies to evaluate low earth orbit satellites to connect to Link-16 communications terminals for relaying military communications beyond the ground terminals line-of-sight.
The pilot project tests feasibility of using small satellites in low-Earth orbits to relay more and better information to units in the field. Link 16 technology has only been capable of line-of-sight communications. By demonstrating that Link 16 can operate in a space environment on small satellites, the U.S. military can gain beyond-line-of-sight tactical advantages on the battlefield..
Want to know more about Link 16? Tonex offers nearly a dozen courses in Link 16 Training, such as:
Our Link 16 courses are designed by Link 16 experts in the field, and this allows our workshops to excel in certain topics that only professionals in these specialized areas would understand.
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