Data Link Solutions, a joint venture of BAE Systems and Collins Aerospace, has been awarded $235.6 million to produce Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) JTRS radios.

The contract notice is as follows:

“Data Link Solutions LLC, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is awarded a $235,566,335 modification to its current indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00039-15-D-0007) to increase the ceiling of the existing production contract line item number (CLIN), spares CLIN, and systems engineering and integration CLIN of the referenced contract.

This ceiling increase will implement the capabilities identified in the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) Memorandum dated Aug. 20, 2018, wherein the JROC endorsed the advanced capabilities of Concurrent Multi-Netting-4 (CMN-4), Concurrent Contention Receive, and Enhanced Throughput as the Department of Defense baseline for all future upgrades to any platform requiring Link-16.”

According to Breaking Defense, the MIDS JTRS programme of record is a four-channel radio that provides Link-16 and Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN) capability, plus the ability to handle networking waveforms like the Soldier Radio Waveform and Wideband Networking Waveform, as well as future waveforms that meet the Joint Airborne Networking – Tactical Edge requirement.

“These waveforms are the heart of software-defined radios that can interoperate across handheld, vehicular, airborne, and maritime domains as nodes in a network for secure, wireless communications between U.S. forces and coalition partners.

The latest version of MIDS JTRS will have two new capabilities that will improve datalink performance: Link 16 four-channel Concurrent Multinetting with Concurrent Retention Receive (CMN-4), and Tactical Targeting Networking Technology (TTNT). CMN-4 provides better digital receivers and buffering, as well as faster processors to allow aircraft to receive more Link 16 messages during periods of high message exchange demand.” 

The order is for the US Navy and US Air Force, 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.

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DaveyB
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DaveyB

The upgrade to multiplex Link-16 is welcome but still doesn’t come close to the capabilities of the F35’s multi-function advanced data-link (MADL). I wonder how much it would cost to install MADL on Typhoon? It or a derivative is a necessary requirement for the future Tempest.

GWM
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GWM

Yes makes a lot of sense to fit MADL on Typhoons I think the RAF is working with Lockmart to add a pod on to do this.It would we good to add it to Type 45 destroyers as well so they can use F35 sensors to target their missiles.

Iain
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Iain

Would make even more sense if they fitted the Mk 41 Strike length VLS to the type 45’s that the were fit for but not with. Then you could call down multiple different types of strike without compromising your stealthy aircraft. Same for the Type 26’s if and when they ever finish building one.

Joe16
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Joe16

T45s don’t have cooperative engagement capability currently (unless the MOD sneaked it on without telling anyone), which means they can’t use the sensors from any other platform in a task group, airborne or on the surface, to cue up targets for their missiles. Before it gets MADL, I think it needs CEC to be honest…
I would be very very happy to be shown I’m incorrect on this, by the way. I think it is the biggest weakness of the T45 because it hobbles it in its primary mission so drastically.

Steve
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Steve

Kind of a major gap in capability if they don’t have it. What about sensors in the merlin crowsnest, can that link up?

Joe16
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Joe16

Honestly, I don’t know. I really hope so though!

GWM
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GWM

CEC is a different thing it is a system that fuses data from different platforms to a combined picture and allows one platform to control another’s weapons.F35 does not have CEC but it can talk to US Navey combat management systems and allow that data to target its weapons.Agree it should be fitted on all major surface ships but having a MADL system integrated int a 45’s combat system would effectively make it a wingman of the F35.The RN have shown a slide of doing this in the past

Joe16
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Joe16

Thanks, yes, I know it’s a separate capability. I fully agree that a MADL link would be useful, but we operate with a large number of other nations’ vessels (Norway, Australia, I think potentially Denmark and the Netherlands in addition to the US) that all have CEC. The T45s already do and are likely to be operating in multi national task groups with or without F-35s around (like the NATO task groups- no carriers in them), and not having CEC means that the T45 can’t use the other vessels’ targeting data. To me it’s a bit more of a priority… Read more »

GWM
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GWM

Only Australia has CEC,I agree it should be fitted but aparently after all the trials on type42’s we decided not to go ahead probably for cost reasons.Fitting a MADL terminal to a 45 should be cheaper.

Joe16
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Joe16

Really?! I could have sworn one of the Norwegian or Danish ships hit a ballistic missile type target using data provided by another vessel in a recent exercise..! I bow to your greater knoweldge, although I imagine that Australia and US use of CEC, particularly with our supposed increased posture in the pacific, would make it worthwhile to do anyway?

GWM
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GWM

Yes, when Australia tested their first system it was clearly stated they were the first and only other country to have it,Japan is about to implement it to on their new Aegis destroyers and I believe South Korea will as well.European countries have talked about it but not bought it yet, the exercise you refer to employed the regular Link data transfer system.

DaveyB
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DaveyB

In Sept. 12, 2016 – using targeting information transmitted from a USMC F-35B, the Navy’s Aegis test site at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico launched an SM-6 anti-air missile and struck a Beechcraft MQM-107 target representing an adversarial fighter. The F-35 picked up the target with its own sensors and routed the track using its Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) to the Navy’s USS Desert Ship (LLS-1) test platform running the Baseline 9 Aegis Combat System. Lockheed and the Navy attached a MADL antenna to the combat system to receive the track information that fed the information to… Read more »

GWM
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GWM

Yes I saw that and that’s what I hope we can do and exploit the full range of Aster30 on the 45’s at low level over the horizon.

Timber merchant
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Timber merchant

The reason for the upgrade is soley because of the NSA’s Crypto Modernisation (CM) programme which will render all existing JTIDS/MIDS terminals redundant on 31 Dec 2021. The new MIDS/JTRS is compliant to CM and introduces additional capabilities. Can’t really see CMN-4 and CCR being used much but Enhanced Throughput (ET) (much more data through the same pipe) will be very welcome. Existing MIDS LVTs can be upgraded via the Block Upgrade 2 (BU2) which will provide CM compliance and ET only.