Link 16’s unique data link architecture allows troops to conduct operations with flexibility in unpredictable battlespace environments.
The Link 16 system is critical for interoperability of NATO and coalition forces operating within a single battlespace. It is also used by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army for air and sea operations, as well as air and missile defense.
The efficacy of Link 16 is that it allows for real-time transfer of combat data, voice communications, imagery and relative navigation information between dispersed battle elements, using data encryption and frequency hopping to maintain secure communications.
The implementation of strict, well-known guidelines makes sure that tactical data is communicated safely and consistently to all force components and hence is a crucial enabler to Battlespace Management (BM) and Shared Situational Awareness (SSA) in functions.
Learning Link 16 is somewhat involved, but the basic elements include:
MIDS (Multifunctional Information Distribution System) — This is the communications component of the Link 16 Tactical Data Link (TDL), which is critical for interoperability of NATO and coalition forces operating within a battlespace.
MIDS-LVT (Multifunctional Information Distribution System Low Volume Terminal) – This is a small unit fitted on airborne, ground and maritime platforms that incorporates data and voice transfer capabilities. The MIDS LVT facilitates the exchange of data over a common communicating link, which allows participants to obtain and share information.
TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) — This is a channel access method for shared-medium networks. It allows several users to share the same frequency channel by dividing the signal into different time slots. The users transmit in rapid succession, one after the other, each using its own time slot. This allows multiple stations to share the same transmission medium.
JTIDS (Joint Tactical Information Distribution System) – This refers to the communication terminal of Link-16. JTIDS provides high capacity, secure, jam-resistant and multi service digital data communication.
Besides learning the basics of Link 16, it’s also important for anyone desiring Link 16 training to be aware of the security parameters. The DoD has devoted considerable time and resources shoring up Link 16 against potential cyberattacks. This includes using jam resistant technology and Cryptographic Variable Logic Labels (CVLL).
In Link 16, both the message and the transmission are encrypted. The message is encrypted by the encryption device for JTIDS (Joint Tactical Information Distribution System) in accordance with a crypto variable specified for message security or MSEC (message encryption).
Transmission security or TSEC (transmission encryption) is provided by the same crypto variable or by a second crypto variable, which controls the specifics of the JTIDS/MIDS (Multifunctional Information Distribution System) waveform. For MIDS, the MSEC and TSEC are provided by a circuit board embedded in the terminal.
Link 16 Training
Tonex offers a 3-day Link 16 Training for Managers course, a combination of theoretical and practical material designed to help managers understand Link-16, how it works, tools and techniques associated with it.
Tonex also offers nearly a dozen other courses in Link 16 Training such as:
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