Over the years, Link 16’s technological capabilities have evolved.
ViaSat, for example, introduced systems such as its Small Tactical Terminal (STT) to meet growing needs of Link 16 mobility.
Weighing 15 pounds and the size of a loaf of bread, the STT can fit in a variety of platforms. STT opened the way to introducing Link 16 into a variety of new platforms, such as helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and ground vehicles.
Link 16 capable radios have been installed on platforms as small as four-wheel all-terrain vehicles. The more recent AN/PRC-161 handheld radio pushes this capability further down to individual dismounted users.
Changes in data sharing networks have also accompanied the expansion in the availability of Link 16 systems across platforms. For instance, the older Link 16 system only supported 20 simultaneous users.
But the state of the art version of Link 16 can handle a network of tens of thousands users across multiple net numbers.
Over the past few years, the DoD 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.
The main application of Link 16 is as an air and missile defense command and control system. This network is being used by various countries for national air defense, linking their sea- and land-based vessels, ground-based sensors and surface-to-air missile systems. This helps them to protect their airspace by identifying threats and neutralizing them.
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.
For more information, questions, comments, contact us