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Widespread use, but Link 16 integration challenges remain

4th June 2019 - 13:00 GMT | by Thomas Withington in Toulouse

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While Link 16 has revolutionised air operations, easing command and control and enhancing situational awareness, challenges still exist regarding its implementation. 

The Link 16 tactical data link (TDL) has become the standard communications conduit to support the air battle since its introduction throughout NATO in the late-1970s/early-1980s. Nevertheless, implementing the TDL brings its own challenges. 

The protocols for governing Link 16 are stipulated in NATO’s Standardisation Agreement 5516 (STANAG 5516). Nonetheless its usage is by no means uniform across the alliance and this can bring challenges.

‘Not all nations use all of Link 16’s implementation capabilities deeply,’ Athanasios Chouliaras, a

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