Link 16

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Link 16 is a military tactical data exchange network used by NATONorth Atlantic Treaty Organization and nations allowed by the MIDS International Program Office (IPO) is a hybrid direct-sequence/frequency-hopping system.


  • Part of JTIDS/MIDS (STANAGNATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG), defines processes, procedures, terms, and conditions for common military or technical procedures or equipment between the member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 5516)
  • Defined in MIL-STD-6016
  • Frequency: 960–1,215 MHzMegaHertz (MHz) 10^6 Hz
  • TDMATime Division Multiple Access-based
  • Can use FHSS
  • Data rate: 31.6/57.6/115.2 kbpsKilobits per second (kbps) MSKMinimum-Shift Keying (When Shift/Bd = 0.5. It is impossible to get this ratio to be lower than 0.5, hence it is called the 'Minimum' shift.)

Link-16 uses the Time-Division Multiple Access (TDMATime Division Multiple Access) principle of data communications. Using this architecture with time interlacing provides the system with multiple and apparently simultaneouscommunications nets.

Each time slot is 1/128 of a second, or 7.8125milliseconds, in duration. When a node transmits data, the frequency that the data is transmitted on is changed every 13microseconds (µsec), according to a predetermined pseudo-random pattern. Link-16 uses 51 different frequencies for data exchange. This frequency hopping adds to the security and integrity of the system by making it nearly impossible to jam.

Link 16 utilizes minimum-shift keying (MSKMinimum-Shift Keying (When Shift/Bd = 0.5. It is impossible to get this ratio to be lower than 0.5, hence it is called the 'Minimum' shift.)) to modulate the chips, cyclical code-shift keying (CCSK) to modulate the 32-chip symbols, and Reed Solomon (RS) code with hard decision decoding (HDD) for forward error correction (FECForward Error Correction). Link 16 waveform hops pseudorandomly to over 51 frequency bins spaced 3 Mhz at a rate of around 77,000 hops per second.

Compared to other communications link waveforms, Link 16 improves security, improves jam resistance, improves situational awareness increases data throughput, increases capacity of information exchanged, and provides secure voice capability, relative navigation capability, and precise participant location and identification.

Link 16 operates over-the-air in the L band portion (969 – 1206 MHzMegaHertz (MHz) 10^6 Hz) of the UHFUltra High Frequency (300-3000 MHz) spectrum (excluding the 1030/1090 frequencies as these are used for IFF).

JTIDS provides two types of security: message security (MSEC) and transmission security (TSEC). MSEC, or the encryption of message data, is applied to Link-16 messages at the link layer, while TSEC is applied to the entire transmission at the physical layer. TSEC includes random message jittering, symbol interleaving, chip scrambling, and random frequency-hopping.

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