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Tactical data links for defense

The challenge

Smarter data links for a smarter defense

Tactical communications are the heart of command and control. On this smarter planet, there is an opportunity to exploit tactical data and other information to develop a new kind of intelligence. Commanders require analytical capabilities to use tactical data to perceive, predict and perform faster and with better effect. In addition to sharing relevant data with forces to better perform missions, participants need to interoperate across service and national boundaries in joint and coalition environments. The tactical data links solution for defense from IBM, including the IBM Data Link Processing System, enables friendly units such as ships, submarines, aircraft and land-based units to safely communicate.


The solution

Better battlespace awareness

The tactical data links solution helps coalition partners become interconnected, maintaining a common situational picture among participants in an operational area. The solution creates an instrumented environment, as data is collected from numerous sensors, including radar, sonar, warfare sensors and identify friend or foe (IFF). The sensor data is then processed to produce binary messages that are transmitted during allocated intervals to other platforms in the force. Data is then correlated to produce a common operational picture (COP), creating an intelligent battlespace.


The benefits

Improve tactical and situational efficiency

The functions of the Data Link Processing System include:


The specifics

Enhance command and control capabilities

The IBM Data Link Processing System provides a full multilink system using NATO standards, enabling interoperability among Link 11, Satellite Link 16 (STDL), JTIDS Link 16, MIDS Link 16, Link 22 and Joint Range Extension (JRE). The Data Link Processing System isolates its host system from all the different data formats and protocols of the tactical data link. Data is exchanged with the host system in the format most appropriate to the host, not driven by the data links. Changes to the tactical data link standards can be implemented within the Data Link Processing System with minimal impact on the host combat management system.

IBM has applied commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) messaging technology and a service oriented architecture (SOA) to facilitate interoperability between platforms that have tactical data link legacy systems and platforms, or sites that are TCP/IP-enabled. This approach provides tactical data link interoperability across coalition forces to improve decision making and mission performance.