Air Force eyes network-centric warfare common data link (CDL) of the future

HANSCOM AFB, Mass., 8 Jan. 2013. U.S. Air Force communications experts are reaching out to industry for ideas on future common data link (CDL) capability to enable military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) forces to operate on the network-centric warfare battlefield of the future.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., issued a request for information (CDL-13-RFI) late last week for the New Common Data Link (CDL) Capabilities program, which seeks to help the Air Force establish parameters of future common data links.

Air Force researchers particularly are interested in multi-access CDL networks; dynamically adaptive CDL parameters; and assured communications CDL capability. Companies are being asked to describe the data link capabilities they have now, or plan to have in the next four to five years.

The Air Force is issuing this RFI on behalf of the CDL Executive Agent, and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. The RFI is not a solicitation, and is for planning purposes only, officials say.

Multi-access CDL network capability involves a need to provide multi-access capability to aggregate video data streams and other ISR traffic from several sources onto a high-rate data pipe, and to enable several data sources to compete for access to a common network.

The multi-access CDL network must be able to carry latency-sensitive control traffic on a deterministic network must be deterministic. Examples include a medium-size unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that collects and forwards video from several small Raven size UAVs, ground sensors, or ground vehicles. Ideas presented should consider latency, determinism, multipath fading, jamming, and other interference.

Related stories

-- Data Link Solutions to provide U.S. and foreign militaries with MIDS-LVT systems

-- Navy researchers tap Rockwell Collins to develop new high-throughput airborne tactical data link technology

-- Navy asks industry about Link 11 and Link 22 radio data links for shipboard communications processor.

Dynamically adaptive CDL parameters involves the ability to adjust link parameters on-the-fly, including data rate, transmit power, modulation and error-correction coding, frequency and other parameters as needed to adapt to changing RF environmental conditions.

Assured-communications CDL involves the ability to detect and go into an anti-jam mode with reduced-but-acceptable performance automatically when jamming is detected, and then return to normal when jamming goes away.

Ideas presented should identify the missions they would address, the capability addressed, and restraints such as size, weight, and power (SWaP), data rate, range, number of nodes, latency, and cost. Companies also may know of other scenarios from conversations with their customers that might be valuable.

Companies interested in submitting ideas should e-mail 20-page white papers to the Air Force's Trevor Sullivan and Maj. Chris Anglin at and no later than 21 Feb. 2013.

A half-day industry briefing on the New Common Data Link (CDL) Capabilities program tentatively is scheduled for the fourth week of this month in the Washington area.

For questions or concerns contact the Air Force's Lawrence Coe by phone at 781-225-1740, or by e-mail at

More information is online at

Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles


The Intel Xeon-D processor and its role in high-performance embedded computing (HPEC)

The rugged Intel Xeon-D server-class multicore microprocessor is set to revolutionize high-performance embedded computing. By itself, the processor will bring unprecedented power to embedded computing applic...

Harsh Environment Protection for Advanced Electronics and Components

This webinar will offer an opportunity to learn more about ultra-thin Parylene conformal coatings – how they are applied, applications they protect today, and the properties and benefits they offer, includin...

Press Releases


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has received a contract from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply its small form factor ...

Innovative Integration Announces the FMC-Servo

Camarillo, CA June 19, 2015, Innovative Integration, a trusted supplier of signal processing and data acquisition hardware and software solutions, today announced the FMC-S...


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has further enhanced its innovative VRD1 high definition (HD) video management system (VMS) w...

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

August 2015
Volume 26, Issue 8

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles