Data Link Solutions to upgrade MIDS JTRS Link-16 tactical communications terminals for ships and planes

Sept. 12, 2019
Link 16 is a military data link network that enables military aircraft, ships, and ground forces to exchange their tactical picture in near-real time.

SAN DIEGO – Secure communications experts at Data Link Solutions LLC, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will upgrade and enhance data throughput in a U.S. military secure digital data and voice communications system under terms of a $30 million order announced Tuesday.

Officials of the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWARSYSCOM) in San Diego are asking Data Link Solutions for advanced capabilities of Concurrent Mutli-Netting-4 (CMN-4), Concurrent Contention Receive, and Enhanced Throughput for all future upgrades to any military platform that requires Link-16 tactical data links.

Link 16 is a military tactical data link network used by the U.S. military and its NATO allies that enables military aircraft, ships, and ground forces to exchange their tactical picture in near-real time. Link 16 also supports the exchange of text, imagery, and digital voice messages.

Current Link-16 platform users have identified the need for the procurement or retrofit of 3,370 additional Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS) CMN-4 terminals. Viasat Inc. in Carlsbad, Calif., also won a $101.5 million order on Tuesday to provide updated MIDS JTRS terminals.

This contract modifications to Data Link Solutions and Viasat will add MIDS Modernization Increment II, retrofits, and additional MIDS JTRS terminals, and increases the total value of the original contract to Data Link Solutions to $1.3 billion. Data Link Solutions is a joint venture between Collins Aerospace and BAE Systems.

Related: Three companies win contracts to upgrade MIDS-LVT situational awareness terminals

CMN-4 upgrades add three additional receiver channels in the space of today’s one Link-16 channel to enable military ships and ground sites to receive four different messages in one time slot.

It uses the four receiver/synthesizers to receive the first through fourth transmissions in a contention pool to increase Link-16 throughput and contention update rates.

The Data Link Solutions MIDS JTRS terminal combines the network-centric communications capability of tomorrow with the real-time operating picture of today — all in one unit, company officials say.

This four-channel software-programmable radio delivers existing Link 16 and TACAN functionality, as well as three channels for future growth, including JTRS advanced networking waveforms such as those meeting Joint Aerial Network — Tactical Edge (JAN-TE) requirements.

The terminal’s dedicated Link 16 channel ensures interoperability with fielded MIDS-LVT terminals and backward-compatibility with legacy communications systems to exchange tactical picture information in real-time.

Related: Data Link Solutions to continue upgrading cryptography and data throughput of MIDS-LVT secure communications

Its enhanced throughput mode boosts Link 16’s protected data rate of 115 kilobits per second to more than 1 megabit per second. It supports frequency remapping to free users from frequency clearance requirements, and helps the warfighter to use banded Link 16 to avoid interference with other systems.

MIDS JTRS offers crypto modernization by implementing new encryption algorithms for cyber security and trusted computing through a programmable cryptography.

The terminal's reprogrammable transceivers can support current legacy waveforms like SINCGARS and HAVE QUICK to provide greater interoperability between forces. The terminal also can accommodate advanced transceivers for newer waveforms to deliver greater network capacity and much lower latency for sensor and processing sharing.

This order combines purchases for the U.S. Navy, Air Force and MIDS Program Office, as well as to the governments of Austria, Chile, Finland, Israel, Jordan, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Data Link Solutions will do the work in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Wayne, N.J., and should be finished by June 2020. For more information contact Data Link Solutions online at, Viasat at, or the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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