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Link 16 is a very important tactical data link originated in the 1970s and 80s to enhance situational awareness during the chaos of battle. Link 16 has been growing in its capabilities and technical architecture ever since.

Link 16 is an encrypted radio frequency widely used by the U.S. military and NATO allies to share information across the battlefield. 

MIDS Low-Volume Terminals (LVTs) are on most U.S. Air Force fighters, bombers and tankers, most U.S. Navy aircraft, ships, and US bases and air defense systems.

Link 16 also supports the exchange of text messages, imagery data and provides two channels of digital voice (2.4 kbit/s and/or 16 kbit/s in any combination). 

Link 16 also facilitates the exchange of sensor information, enabling command and control centers—either centralized or distributed—to create Common Operating Pictures (COP). Interoperability provided by Link 16 allows each participant in the communication link to electronically observe the battlespace, identify threats and acquire targets.

Link 16’s unique data link architecture allows troops to conduct operations with flexibility in unpredictable battlespace environments and is critical for force interoperability against future threats.

Link 16 is normally exchanged through a Radio Frequency (RF) bearer. Data encryption and frequency hopping techniques ensure that Link 16 is both jam resistant and secure.

Link 16 operates at UHF frequencies so direct communications is only possible when the transmitter and receiver are in line of sight. But Link 16 protocols allow information to be “relayed” via other platforms.

What sets Link 16 apart from other tactical data links is that it does not depend on any one terminal to act as a node for the Link 16 network. Instead, all Link 16-capable terminals act as nodes, allowing various military forces to operate while distributed.

Want to learn more? Be sure to see our Link 16 Tutorial page. Tonex also offers more than a dozen courses in Link 16 Training, including:

Advanced Link 16 Training (3 days)

Link 16 Training for Managers (3 days)

Tactical Data Link Training Crash Course (4 days)

Link 16 and MIDS Training Bootcamp (5 days)

Visible Message Format (VMF) Training Bootcamp (4 days)

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.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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