Price: $4,999.00

Length: 3 Days
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Variable Message Format (VMF) Training Bootcamp

Variable Message Format (VMF) is an important communications protocol used in communicating tactical military information.

Documented in MIL-STD-6017, a message formatted using VMF can be sent via many communication methods.

The variable message format is a military digital information exchange standard established by the Joint Interoperability of Tactical Command and Control Systems (JINTACCS) program under the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff. VMF provides common interoperability standards, including command data elements and protocol standards for information transfer in command, control, communications, computer and intelligence (C4I) systems over limited battlefield networks.

Further, VMF enables the real-time exchange of digital tactical information in surveillance systems, command and control (C2) systems, and striking systems in a limited resource-based network-centric operational environment (NCOE) using both wired and wireless military communications.

VMF, as typically used, is controlled by 3 documents:

  • MIL-STD-6017 (VMF) – General rules and KSeries message catalogue
  • MIL-STD-2045-47001 – Message header, mandatory for use with VMF messages
  • MIL-STD-188-220 – Combat Net Radio (CNR) protocols VMF uses K-Series messages that are defined in MIL-STD-6017 (VMF).

VMF’s major roles currently include Fire Support, Close Air Support (CAS), Situational Awareness (SA) and the dissemination of orders and intelligence. However, the functionality is continually being increased and VMF may become the first tactical data link to be used to digitize air-to-air refueling.

Each VMF message is typically preceded by a message header which is defined in MIL-STD2045-47001.

The header is an essential part of the transmission because it contains addressing data, Receipt/Compliance information, classification, precedence, message number etc. In MIDS/Link 16, most of this data is found in the messages themselves.

One substantial benefit of variable Message Format is that its information coding standard is bit-oriented. Messages are passed vie binary code. It cannot only reduce the amount of data transmitted, but also improve machine automatically recognize and deal with the message easily.

Because of its coding standards, VMF can make use of network resource to enhance the adaptability and effectiveness of the message.

According to the literal meaning of VMF, the specific format and length of VMF can be adjusted in practical application.

Additionally, due to its flexible syntax, VMF only allow users to send necessary information. The size of the necessary information could be changed, thereby reducing the amount of data transmitted and saving bandwidths.

Variable Message Format (VMF) Training Bootcamp by Tonex

Variable Message Format (VMF) Training Bootcamp is a 3-day training crash course style covering VMF message standard, VMF data protocol and use cases in tactical radios. Learn about fundamentals and advanced Tactical radios and Variable Message Format (VMF), a message standard using K-series messages and all about communication protocols that are transmission media independent. Variable Message Format (VMF) training course provides participants  with the necessary knowledge and skills to analyze, specify, design, implement, test, V&V and operate systems and nodes using the VMF protocol, VMF message standard  and the VMF operating environments.

The VMF protocol is used to exchange information between multiple different tactical systems providing rich and flexible messaging context. Exchange of operational and tactical data such as: positions, trajectories, maps, navigation data, mission data, surveillance and intelligence between the connected systems and nodes over VMF. VMF is  well suited for  communications bandwidth constrained situations when Combat  Net Radio (CNR) networks are deployed and used. VMF and the Joint Range Extension Applications Protocol (JREAP) enable the exchange of voice, mission and tactical data and imagery by connecting to a network of various participant nodes, platforms and units, both vertically and horizontally. Variable Message Format (VMF) TrainingVMF elements and flags include:

  • Field Presence Indicator (FPI)
  • Field Recurrence Indicator (FRI)
  • Group Presence Indicator (GPI)
  • Group Recurrence Indicator (GRI)

Who Should Attend

  • TDL operators
  • TDL certification and testing professionals
  • Engineers and technicians
  • Analysts
  • Other military and defense professionals

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of VMF training bootcamp, the participants are be able to:

  • Describe the history and background of Variable Message Format (VMF)
  • Describe the key concepts, features and mechanisms behind VMF
  • Explain the motivation behind the use of VMF
  • List related VMF standards and benefits
  • Illustrate potential VMF deployment scenarios
  • Explain how VMF facilitates Tactical Data Links (TDLs) enabled systems
  • Give examples of VMF design considerations
  • Distinguish among Link 11, Link 16, Link 22, JREAP, SADIL, VMF, EPLRS, IFDL MADL and other TDLs
  • Describe key design considerations for a VMF enabled system or node
  • Summarize required VMF changes in the traditional TDL systems
  • Summarize VMF message structure, syntax, formats, protocol and VMF Data Element Dictionary (DED)
  • Summarize VMF considerations in terminals, interfaces, network communications and protocols
  • Test, verify, validate and certify VMF nodes and systems


Course Content

Variable Message Format (VMF) Protocol

  • Key concepts behind Variable Message Format (VMF)
  • VMF Characteristics
  • VMF Equipment and Interoperability
  • VMF use cases
  • VMF Benefits
  • VMF and other TDLs
  • VMF Limitations
  • VMF Standards

VMF Systems, Nodes, and Networks

  • VMF Testing and Certification
  • VMF Operations and Network Management
  • Variable Message Format (VMF) message standard
  • Communication protocols that are transmission media independent
  • The Variable Message Format Protocol
  • Schema of the Application Header of a VMF message
  • Structure of the Application Header
  • Assembly of a VMF Message
  • Encapsulation process of user data into a VMF message
  • User Data

VMF Architecture

  • VMF and OSI 7 Layer Model
  • VMF vs. TCP/IP Networking
  • VMF System benefits and limitations compared to other TDLs
  • Common VMF Bearers
  • VMF Systems, Nodes, Networks, Modems, and Tactical Radios
  • VMF procurement, interoperability and international challenges
  • Network Management of VMF networks including forwarding.
  • Variable Message Format (VMF)
  • K-series messages

VMF Protocol and Operations

  • MIL-STD-6017
  • MIL-STD-188-220 Protocol Layers
  • Technical parameters for the data communications protocols
  • MIL-STD-2045-47001
  • VMF User Data formats
  • Link 16 (J-series Messages)
  • Binary files
  • VMF messages
  • National Imagery Transmission Format System (NITFS) files
  • Redistributed Messages (RDM)
  • United States Message Text Formats (USMTF)
  • Extensible Markup Language (XML) -Message Text Format (MTF)
  • Extensible Markup Language (XML) – Variable Message Format (VMF)
  • VMF Upper-Lower Layers
  • VMF Message Structure Overview
  • Field coding
  • Message coding conventions
  • Data Field Identifier (DFI)
  • Data Use Identifier (DUI)
  • Data Item (DI)
  • The VMF Data Element Dictionary (DED)
  • VMF Message Processing
  • The Transfer of VMF messages
  • Single Channel Ground-to-Air Radio System (SINCGARS)
  • Single-frequency Ultra High Frequency/Very High Frequency (UHF/VHF)
  • HAVEQUICK media using MIL-STD-188-220 CNR protocols

VMF Use Cases

  • Typical equipment
  • Interoperability
  • Fire Support
  • Close Air Support
  • Situational Awareness
  • Maneuver
  • Logistics
  • Administration

VMF Characteristics

  • VMF system main elements:
  • Bearer
  • Message Header
  • Message
  • MIL-STD-188-220
  • Bearer Definition
  • Specifies CNR protocols
  • MIL-STD-2045-47001
  • Message Headers
  • MIL-STD-6017
  • Message Standard

Variable Message Format Link Requirement

  • Message Standard Functional Areas
  • Network Control Functional Area
  • General Information Exchange Functional Area
  • Fire Support Operations Functional Area
  • Interface Levels
  • General Transmit/Receive Rules
  • Air Operations Functional Area
  • Intelligence Operations Functional Area
  • Land Combat Operations Functional Area
  • Maritime Operations Functional Area
  • Combat Service Support Functional Area
  • Special Operations Functional Area
  • Joint Task Force (JTF) Operations Control Functional Area
  • Air Defense/Airspace Control Functional Area

VMF Participant Reporting Responsibilities

  • Position Reporting
  • Image Transfer
  • File Formats
  • National Imagery Transmission Format Standard (NITFS) Tactical Profile
  • Tactical Image Transfer Method
  • Image Transfer Identification

Description of VMF Messages

  • VMF Message Development
  • VMF Message Description
  • Message Numbering Convention
  • Message Processing Rules
  • Logical Operators
  • Application
  • Reserved Words
  • Nested Group Rules
  • Cases
  • Conditions
  • Defaults
  • Expected Response
  • Special Considerations
  • Minimum Implementation

VMF Syntax

  • Field Presence Indicators (FPIs)
  • Field Recurrence Indicators (FRIs)
  • Group Presence Indicators (GPIs)
  • Group Recurrence Indicators (GRIs)
  • Syntax Fields
  • Category Column, Group Code Column, and Repeat Code Column Markings
  • Category Column Markings
  • Group Code Column Markings
  • Repeat Code Column Markings

VMF Coding Conventions

  • Protective Coding
  • Data Field Coding
  • Logical Data Fields
  • Numeric Data Fields
  • Composite Data Fields
  • Time Standard
  • Positional Information
  • Positional Information Associated With Symbols and Graphics

VMF Unit Identification

  • VMF Entity ID Reference Number
  • T/R Rules
  • Transmit Opportunities
  • Redundant Transmission
  • Periodic Transmission
  • Data Availability
  • Message Precedence

VMF System Testing and Certification

  • Message implementation requirements specifications
  • Header implementation requirements specifications
  • Bearer definition
  • Message Standards
  • Testing Support
  • VMF test strategy
  • User Requirements Documents (URDs)
  • Systems Requirements Documents (SRDs) for test tools
  • VMF test cases.
  • Terminals
  • VMF with conventional UHF/HF/SATCOM radio communications
  • VMF systems vs. Ethernet
  • Using open system architecture
  • Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) 7-Layer Model
  • VMF in tactical digital communications systems
  • VMF participating units
  • VMF interoperability
  • VMF Mandatory system standards for planning, engineering, procuring
  • Lower layer (Physical through Intranet) transport protocols for interoperability of Command, Control,  Communications, Computers Intelligence (C4I) systems
  • Minimum essential data communications parameters and protocol stack
  • SINCGARS (VHF), single frequency UHF/VHF/High Frequency (HF), and HAVEQUICK operations
  • Minimum essential technical parameters
  • Mandatory system standard
  • Optional design objectives for interoperability and compatibility
  • Physical Layer Protocol
  • The Robust Communications Protocol (RCP)
  • Digital Message Transfer Devices (DMTD)
  • Interfacing C4I systems (Data Terminal Equipment (DTE))
  • Exchange Network Parameters (XNP)
  • Combat Network Radio Working Group (CNRWG) Interface Change Proposal (ICP)
  • PD10-002R2 and XNP Version 2 of MIL-STD-188
  • US Joint Staff Digitally Aided Close Air Support (DACAS) Block I implementation
  • Data Link Layer
  • Transmission Header and Data Link Frame
  • The Intranet Layer (IL)
  • The Transport Layer
  • Lower Layer Protocol Network Testing

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