Tactical data link

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IT technicians study TDL data on a computer terminal (US Naval Network and Space Operations Command) in a June 2004 image

A tactical data link (TDL) uses a data link standard in order to provide communication via radio waves or cable used by NATO nations. All military C3 systems use standardized TDL to transmit, relay and receive tactical data.

Multi-TDL network (MTN) refers to the network of similar and dissimilar TDLs integrated through gateways, translators, and correlators to bring the common tactical picture and/or common operational picture together.

Change of terminology[edit]

The term tactical digital information link (TADIL) was made obsolete (per DISA guidance) and is now more commonly seen as tactical data link (TDL).

Tactical data link character[edit]

TDLs are characterized by their standard message and transmission formats. This is usually written as <Message Format>/<Transmission Format>.

TDL standards in NATO[edit]

In NATO, tactical data link standards are being developed by the Data Link Working Group (DLWG) of the Information Systems Sub-Committee (ISSC) in line with the appropriate STANAG.

Synopsis of TDL links[edit]

In NATO, there exist tactical data link standards as follows:

STANAG Working Title Final title / description Communi-
1 5501 NATO data link between
Air Defence Main Control Centres
Link 1
Tactical Data Exchange for Air Defence
Point to Point 1st
Ground Link between NADGE entities limited and not secure
2 Radar to Control Centre Data Link 1st Cancelled (includes in Link 1)
3 Control Centre to higher HQ Data Links SHOC Early Warning System Point to Point 1st Slow Speed Warning Link from evaluation centres to SHAPE
4 5504 Ground to Air Data Link Link 4
TDL for the Control of Military aircraft
Point to Point 1st
Compatible to US TADIL–C to be operated in NATO UHF (225–400 MHz) RF band
5 Fast HF Automatic Link Broadcast 1st Cancelled (see Link 11)
6 5506
Missile Base to Control Centre Link Link 6 –
(NADGE Link) SAM Automatic Data Link
Point to Point 1st Draft STANAG (US MBDL, ATDL–1, PADIL)
7 5507
ATC / Defence Link Link 7 –
Point to Point 1st
8 HF Automatic Link Broadcast 1st Cancelled (see Link 1)
9 SOC / Airbase Link 1st
10 5510 Ship – Ship Link Link 10 – Maritime
Tactical Data Exchange
Broadcast 2nd
STANAG cancelled (was used by BE, NL and UK)
11 5511 Fast HF Automatic Link Link 11
Maritime Tactical Data Exchange
Broadcast 2nd
Compatible to US TADIL–A to be operated in the HF & NATO UHF RF bands
11B 5511
(Vol. II)
Link 11B –
Tactical Data Exchange
Point to Point 2nd
Compatible to the US TADIL–B Ground to Ground TDL
12 Fast HF Automatic Link Cancelled (see Link 11)
13 HF Automatic Link Broadcast Cancelled (see Link 11)
14 5514 Slow Semi–Automatic Link Link 14 –
Maritime TDL
Broadcast 1st
Ship–Ship & Ship–Shore (only few applications)
15 Slow Semi–Automatic Link Ship–Ship, Cancelled
16 5516 High Capacity, ECM Resistant, Multifunctional, TDMA Link Link 16
ECM Resistant Tactical Data Exchange
Broadcast 3rd
Compatible to US TADIL–J
(STANAG 4175 – Technical Characteristics of MIDS)
21 5521
Link in support of ACCS – (LISA) Point to Point 3rd
Under development (planned to replace Link 1 and Link 11B)
22 5522
NATO Improved Link 11 – (NILE) Link 22 3rd
Under development (planned to replace Link 11)
5601 Standard for Interface of Data Links 1, 11, 11B, and 14 through a buffer see AdalP 12
5602 Standard Interface for Multiple Platform Link Evaluation (SIMPLE) Enables transmission of J-Series (TADIL-J) messages over IP-based protocols
MIL-STD-6020 5616 Standard for data forwarding between tactical data systems employing Links 11/11B and tactical data systems employing Link 16 MIL-STD-6020, DoD Interoperability Standard: Data Forwarding between TDLs
IJMS ECM Resistant Communication System (ERCS) IJMS – Interim JTIDS/MIDS Message Specification Broadcast 2nd, M–Series Interim Data Link Standard to be replaced by Link 16
SADL Situational Awareness Data Link SADL – Situational Awareness Data Link Broadcast 1st, K-Series
2nd, K/J–Series
Data link adopted from EPLRS to provide A-10s and F-16s data link capability air-to-ground and air-to-air

See also[edit]

External links[edit]