On 4th December, Viasat announced that its AN/PRC-161 BATS-D (Battlefield Awareness and Targeting System-Dismounted) handheld Link-16 Tactical Data Link (TDL) has achieved Type-1 certification with the US National Security Agency, the firm announced in a press release. Link-16 is a TDL protocol used by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and allied nations, to support the conduct of air operations, using a waveband of 969 megahertz to 1.2 gigahertz. According to NSA definitions, Type-1 certification indicates that the device is a: “classified or controlled cryptographic item endorsed by the NSA for securing classified and sensitive US Government information, when appropriately keyed.” Type-1 is the highest certification level awarded by the NSA. In addition, the press release stated that part of this certification process was to ensure interoperability with standard US radios carrying the Link-16 protocol including the Rockwell Collins/Viasat MIDS JTRS (Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Joint Tactical Radio System) airborne radio which is equipping the lion’s share of the combined US armed forces combat aircraft fleet, and the Harris KOR-24A Small Tactical Terminal airborne system which can handle Link-16 and Very High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency (30 megahertz to three gigahertz) traffic.
Thomas Withington, Birmingham