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DARPA aims to hit the sweet spot on data link compatibility

25th June 2020 - 12:00 GMT | by Thomas Withington in Toulouse

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NATO member states have various tactical data links (TDLs) at their disposal – notably HAVE QUICK I/II, Link 16 and the Situational Awareness Tactical Data Link - for secure and resilient airborne communications and data sharing.

The overall effect is a degree of communications redundancy, but each network uses a different protocol to handle data traffic; and they are not always mutually compatible.

For example, the Surveillance and Control Data Link, used by USAF personnel (pictured) in the E-8C JSTARS aircraft to share tactical data, transmits across a waveband of 12.4-18GHz, and handles data at rates of up to 1.9mb/s.

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