Tactical Data Link Translation Made Easy - What It Takes to Get It Right

Tactical communications
Tactical communications
White Paper
September 09, 2019

Tactical Data Link Translation Made Easy - What It Takes to Get It Right

Legacy TDL gateways increase risks on modern battlefields

Military organizations worldwide rely heavily on tactical data links (TDLs) to securely and reliably share mission-critical information among air, ground, and sea platforms. Because different devices use different TDL types for communications, a highly sophisticated TDL gateway is needed to translate information across all of the various link types. But, there’s a massive disconnect between historical TDL gateway designs and modern military requirements. As a result, TDL gateways designed for the way the military operated years ago are an inferior fit on present-day, technologically advanced battlefields.

TDL gateways are notoriously difficult and time-consuming to set up and configure. They’re also highly complicated to operate. These legacy gateways were intended to be used behind the scenes at Air Operations Centers (AOC) and Control and Reporting Centers (CRCs) by teams of highly experienced experts working in a quiet environment. They were not designed to be used by warfighters who are actively engaged in mission activities at the tactical edge of the battlefield.

Today’s warfighters are digital natives who grew up surrounded by technology. They expect ready access to easy-to-use technologies in all aspects of mission activities. These warfighters were trained to execute their role-related tasks and mission objectives, not to operate ultra-complex radio and computer equipment. And, they cannot possibly operate such equipment while simultaneously engaging in mission activities.

If equipment is not fast and easy to set up and operate in the field, warfighters will simply leave it behind when they head out on missions. Executing missions without access to vital equipment such as a TDL gateway puts warfighters’ lives and mission success at risk. So does taking the time to try and operate convoluted and complex equipment at the tactical edge of the battlefield. It seems like an impossible choice to make. But, in the end, warfighters have no choice at all. It simply doesn’t make sense for warfighters to carry the weight of the equipment they don’t have the knowledge, skills, or time to operate.

Login and download the white paper to learn about:

  • Modern TDL Gateway Requirements
  • Optimal Design Approaches
  • Link 16 Implementation Challenges