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Operation of Multiple Link 16 Terminals Connected to a Single Host

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Conference paper

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Link 16 is the backbone tactical datalink system for exchange of related surveillance, weapons coordination, and air control information. The standard for Link 16 operation is a single terminal. Until recently no platform employed more than one Link 16 terminal. The United States US military standard and North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO standard organizations have not developed documentation for operating multiple terminals from a single command and control C2 unit. The issues and proposed implementations are covered in this paper. The closest document available to define the remote C2 host with multiple connections was developed by the US for Joint Range Extension JRE. The JRE document addresses beyond line of sight exchange of Link 16 information. The JRE standard was not adopted by NATO and there are no plans for a comparable document. The lack of a JRE or remote standard in NATO for C2 operation impacts US systems that are trying to achieve interoperability. Some of the issues that must be resolved include source track numbering for the host and the terminals, routing of data, control of duplicate data to and from multiple terminals, remote initialization, remote keying of the encryption devices, network design, network operation and management, and data forwarding. The paper also provides insight into how large C2 systems plan to interact in a coalition environment. Link 16 network design and management requires new and creative initiatives when operating with multiple data paths. Secure voice is a problem when data is sent over multiple paths. Can the non-C2 platform receive the secure voice transmission from multiple terminals on different time slot blocks Network design has many issues to resolve. Link 16 operation when multiple terminals are connected to a single host impact US, NATO, Allied, and Coalition datalink operations. The issues must be identified and addressed. The paper will start that process.

Subject Categories:

  • Computer Systems Management and Standards
  • Command, Control and Communications Systems
  • Cybernetics
  • Telemetry

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