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Link 22 is the newest NATO standard for tactical information exchange between military units.

Link 22’s predecessor, Link 16, was intended to replace or augment many existing TDLs as the joint standard for data link information exchange, but its use is limited by the cost of implementation and support. 

The development of Link 22 started in 1992 as the NATO Improved Link Eleven (NILE) project. The goals of this project were to replace the aging Link 11 standard, complement Link 16, improve allied interoperability and enhance mission performance.

The Link 22 standard was 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.

The NATO member nations that participated in the development of Link 22 are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and the US.

Today, the Link 22 standard is operational. Link 22 transmits data in fixed-format messages that are compatible with Link 16 formats. Like Link 16, communication channels are shared by using TDMA protocols.

The specification for Link 22 is the Standardized NATO Agreement (STANAG) 5522. The structure of the Link 22 network layer allows for the transmission of any kind and length of data with automated routing and relaying mechanisms. Link 22 also features automated bandwidth reallocation depending on user requirements and availabilities.

The SNC is the core component of Link 22 and was integrated into the Data Link Processing System enclosure by IBM. The SNC can dynamically manage up to eight simultaneous physical radio networks, known as NILE Networks (NN), in a single logical network called the Super Network (SN).

Each of the physical radio networks can be HF, UHF, fixed-frequency (FF) or frequency-hopping. UHF links are intended for LOS communication only. For HF, the algorithms in the SNC are optimized to cover a range of 300 nautical miles (NM). Live trials have shown that ranges over 600 NM can be covered without noticeable problems.

The Link 22 capabilities developed by IBM are directly implemented into the multilink IBM Data Link Processing System. These capabilities are also integrated into a modern, service-oriented architecture that can adapt to meet the interoperability requirements of modern operations.

The IBM solution for Link 22 combines extensive domain experience in mission-tactical messaging with the technological advantages of IBM.

Want to learn more? Tonex offer Link 22 Training, a 2-day course that covers the latest technology attempts to use COTS products.

Learn how Link 22 provides a simple-to-use functions that require minimal operator interaction, enhances tactical data link capabilities and functions as an excellent stand-alone tactical data link that can interwork with Link 16.

This course benefits managers, and procurers to get executive-level information; planners, operators, and technicians to gain user-level and operational information (ConOps); any other technical professionals to get technical-level information.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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