JED - September 2016 - 36

The Journal of Electronic Defense | September 2016

36

Although
LPI/LPD technologies and techniques, including
spread-spectrum, frequency-hopping, and other specialized waveforms,
such as those implemented in the ubiquitous Link 16 system, have been around
and in use for some time, many of these
approaches are no longer very effective
against modern signals intelligence (SIGINT) systems.
The latest covert waveform techniques are reserved for the most modern
weapon systems and platforms. These
include the narrow-beam Intra-Flight
Data-Link (IFDL) used by the F-22 and
the Multi-function Advanced Data
Link (MADL) on the F-35 stealth aircraft. These aircraft were not initially
equipped with the standard datalinks
used on fourth-generation fighters because of their susceptibility to SIGINT
visibility, but because of this, interoperability with other earlier-generation
platforms and systems ("communications gap"), proved to be a big challenge.
In fact, one example of the state of
covert military communications and
how it can be addressed can be seen in
the evolution of the Link 16 military
tactical data exchange network used by
US, NATO and other approved nations allowing aircraft, ships and ground forces
to exchange tactical information in
near-real time. The Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) is
the NATO name for the communication
component of Link-16.
The US Navy is the lead for the MIDS
International Program Office (IPO)
(PMA/PMW-101) located in San Diego,
CA, and a number of companies and
consortiums are involved with the pro-

gram including
EuroMIDS, a joint
venture which includes Thales (France),
Leonardo (Italy), Airbus
DS (Germany) and INDRA
(Spain); ViaSat Inc. (San Diego, CA); and
Data Link Solutions, LLC (DLS) (Cedar
Rapids, IA). DLS was established as a
joint venture in 1996 by BAE Systems
(Nashua, NH) and Rockwell Collins (Cedar Rapids, IA), to pursue next-generation Link 16 applications. As noted by
Mike Alves BAE Systems' Link 16 Business Development Manager. "Link 16 is
not exactly a covert waveform. It's been
around a long time, radiates at high
power levels and is omnidirectional."
But, Alves also points out that one of
the roadblocks to dramatically improving
overall signal covertness, is that it takes
a long time to field a new waveform,
perhaps in the neighborhood of fifteen
years. "On Link 16, for example, we're in
36 countries and 40 different platforms,
but it took 50 years to get to that point."
In addition, covertness is not the only
driver and challenge for advancing communication system capabilities. On the
modern battlefield, shared real-time situational awareness, multi-platform and
sensor networking, and command and
control communications are essential
elements of mission success, not options
that can be traded off. As such, communication system performance, capacity,
survivability, interoperability, reliability, and security are also among the priority requirements.
Clearly replacing and improving all
of these capabilities with an all-new
waveform would be both difficult and
costly, but, while acknowledging the
shortcomings of early-generation Link
16 and MIDS, Alves also emphasizes that

there are
in facts things that
can be done, and have been
done, with the system to simultaneously enhance its capability and
to make it more covert. Many of these
options are currently being implemented or explored with both the Air Force
and Navy. Says Alves, "Anything we can
do to use the existing waveforms and
radios, and improve the capability, is
the more cost-affordable way to go, and
that's what we're working on. In addition, all MIDS radios are all competitively procured, so there is always pressure
to drive down the cost curve."
The MIDS IPO is currently fielding
the next generation MIDS Joint Tactical Radio System Terminal (MIDS-JTRS).
ViaSat and DSL collaborated on the development of the four-channel Software
Defined Radio (SDR) that maintains the
Link-16, J-Voice (ECM resistant), and
TACAN functionality of the older MIDSLVT (Low Volume Terminal) standard,
and adds Link-16 enhanced throughput (ET), Link-16 Frequency Remapping
(FR), as well as programmable NSA-certified encryption. ET takes advantage of
new channel-encoding techniques to increase data throughput from the current
115.2 kbps rate to a theoretical maximum of 1.1 Mbps. Frequency Remapping
frees users from frequency clearance
requirements to avoid interference with
other systems.
Occupying the same volume of space
as the MIDS-LVT, the three additional
programmable channels allow the system to generate multiple, different
waveforms simultaneously, meaning
that with the deployment of MIDS-JTRS
on fourth-gen fighter aircraft, they will
be able to communicate with the F-22
and F-35 fifth-gen fighter aircraft using
the same stealthy IFDL and MATL datalinks used on those platforms, as well
as to other fourth-gen fighter aircraft.
MIDS-JTRS also includes the Tactical
Targeting Network Technology (TTNT)



JED - September 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - September 2016

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Nothing to See (Or Hear) Here – Concealing Tactical Communications
Technology Survey: Manpack COMINT and DF Systems
The Heat is On
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - September 2016 - cover1
JED - September 2016 - cover2
JED - September 2016 - 3
JED - September 2016 - 4
JED - September 2016 - 5
JED - September 2016 - The View From Here
JED - September 2016 - 7
JED - September 2016 - insert1
JED - September 2016 - insert2
JED - September 2016 - Conferences Calendar
JED - September 2016 - 9
JED - September 2016 - Courses Calendar
JED - September 2016 - 11
JED - September 2016 - From the President
JED - September 2016 - 13
JED - September 2016 - 14
JED - September 2016 - The Monitor
JED - September 2016 - 16
JED - September 2016 - 17
JED - September 2016 - 18
JED - September 2016 - 19
JED - September 2016 - 20
JED - September 2016 - 21
JED - September 2016 - 22
JED - September 2016 - 23
JED - September 2016 - 24
JED - September 2016 - 25
JED - September 2016 - 26
JED - September 2016 - 27
JED - September 2016 - World Report
JED - September 2016 - 29
JED - September 2016 - 30
JED - September 2016 - 31
JED - September 2016 - 32
JED - September 2016 - 33
JED - September 2016 - Nothing to See (Or Hear) Here – Concealing Tactical Communications
JED - September 2016 - 35
JED - September 2016 - 36
JED - September 2016 - 37
JED - September 2016 - 38
JED - September 2016 - 39
JED - September 2016 - 40
JED - September 2016 - 41
JED - September 2016 - 42
JED - September 2016 - Technology Survey: Manpack COMINT and DF Systems
JED - September 2016 - 44
JED - September 2016 - 45
JED - September 2016 - 46
JED - September 2016 - 47
JED - September 2016 - The Heat is On
JED - September 2016 - 49
JED - September 2016 - 50
JED - September 2016 - 51
JED - September 2016 - EW 101
JED - September 2016 - 53
JED - September 2016 - AOC News
JED - September 2016 - 55
JED - September 2016 - 56
JED - September 2016 - Index of Advertisers
JED - September 2016 - JED Quick Look
JED - September 2016 - cover3
JED - September 2016 - cover4
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