Tactical Data Links

The JCSys team has been involved in the international TDL arena for many years, serving the community and pushing the envelope of development. As such, the team possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in all aspects of the lifecycle that are pertinent to TDL solutions and their management. Our team comprises experts who are internationally recognised by customers & partners.

Key Areas of Expertise:

  • Key advisors to the UK MoD for many years providing Subject Matter Expertise (SME) support for Frequency Clearance Agreement (FCA) compliance and testing.
  • Lead figures in various international data link fora (including the UK/US TDL Bilateral Meetings and the JTIDS International Configuration Review Board/MIDS International Board.
  • Recognised experts in the world on the functionality of the JTIDS/MIDS Terminals and STANAG 4175 (the NATO standard for all JTIDS/MIDS Terminals).
  • We have also provided key technical support for many years to the DE&S Tactical Data Links Delivery Team (TDL DT) now part of the Situation Awareness Command & Control (SACC) DT, and UK System Engineering and Integration Group (SEIG) on issues relating to UK, NATO and US TDL Standards.
  • Experienced practitioners of the iSMART process and eSMART toolset. We have supported many of the current iSMART nations and were also heavily involved in the development of the process itself.

We have been supporting the acquisition of TDL solutions for many years. Our customers consider our involvement in their TDL programmes a risk reduction measure, noting the extensive experience of our team.


  • Our broad experience of supporting the integration and subsequent management of TDL solutions for many nations and platform types provides our customers with an assured level of service.
  • We believe in the provision of pragmatic advice vice dogmatic adherence to standards (recognising both commercial constraints and legacy system constraints).
  • We understand the latest technical TDL developments and also maintain currency in operational experience of TDL employment.

The engineering of a TDL solution requires the combination of expertise from a number of areas. The JCSys team is comprised of experts in all of the necessary fields which we bring together to build effective results for our customers. Whilst there are many other influences (such as IO management), the following basic building blocks form the back-bone of a TDL solution.

Communications Media Bearers

When it comes to Link 16, we have an unprecedented reputation across a wide variety of MIDS/JTIDS terminal types and interfaces for their expertise. Our experts can provide advice on bearer issues associated with adoption of a VMF capability. Our breadth of understanding and hence advice also spans across other communications media to convey data according to specific protocols (e.g. Link 11, Link 22, JREAP, etc) over HF, UHF and SATCOM.

Message Processing

We are well versed in all of the applicable US/NATO TDL standards and members of our team have been intimately involved in their evolution. Our activities extend to standards adoption advice, change proposal staffing and impact assessment. We strive to provide pragmatic advice on message implementation and processing vice dogmatic adherence to standards – The key being the flexibility of design.

Platform Integration

Platform integration is the bringing together of all constituent components, according to informed requirements, quite often within a legacy system architecture, to create a platform TDL solution which can operate effectively within a system of systems.We have significant experience in this area gained across a broad cross-section of platform types from combat aircraft and airborne/ground-based surveillance and control assets to Network Management solutions. We pride ourselves in being at the forefront of TDL evolution and development and of integrating new concepts into platforms, eg:

  • Correlation/Decorrelation Protocols – We were an integral member of the team which sought to improve the NATO standards with respect to the fusion of surveillance information from disparate sources. We have also been involved in supporting the introduction of these new protocols onto a number of legacy TDL platforms.
  • Time Slot Reallocation – TSR is a dynamic method for managing transmission capacity on Link 16 networks. TSR requires platforms to continuously assess and report their transmission load requirements, then manage their transmission capacity to cater for situations where the demand exceeds availability. We were an integral member of the team which introduced TSR on the E-3D.

Our pedigree in front line support to TDL platforms and personnel is unrivalled. We provide operationally focussed advice for a range of clients, from the centrally focussed but varied SME support to our UK MOD (as the preferred supplier), TDL Frequency Clearance & Testing support to our UK MOD and JDLMO clients, to the through-life support to a variety of UK and international platforms. Members of our team also have very recent front line deployment experience and hence enable us to remain current in operational use of TDLs.

Recent Operational Advice/Experience

  • TDL training for UK RN Aviators
  • Air Battle Management TDL training for the Singaporean Armed Forces
  • Airborne Surveillance & Control TDL training for the Swedish Armed Forces
  • Operationally focussed TDL training for our platform customers
  • TDL analysis during exercises and operations
  • TDL Concept & SOP development and advice to various customers

Our excellent understanding of TDL solutions combined with current experience of joint operations enables us to support the following: Development of robust and effectively researched concepts that are designed to satisfy your operational requirements. Transitioning from operational concepts into practical/usable SOPs, the back bone for any successful exercise/operation. Pre-deployment IO evaluation services to increase your operator’s knowledge of their system and provide them with knowledge they need to identify operational solutions during operations. Operational deployment IO problem solving to assist your operators during dynamic operations. Pre-deployment training, provided by our team which includes qualified military training instructors (who have experience of delivering training across NATO and UK military schools).

TDL Test & Evaluation when delivering a new or upgraded capability into service it can be technically daunting and expensive. We at JCSys have extensive experience of all aspects of this challenging process. We are able to provide support in the management, planning, conduct, monitoring, reporting and analysis of your testing to ensure that your requirements are met to the highest standards; for UK airborne platforms we are also able to draft Military Aircraft Relase (MAR) recommendations. As TDL SMEs, our broad and deep knowledge of TDL equipped platforms, and their interrelation with the current ISTAR landscape will help ensure that your TDL system T&E phases are correctly focussed and based on a ‘system of systems’ approach. As our team includes current and ex-operators well versed in the latest ISTAR techniques, we are confident that we can reduce the cost of your test programme by using Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) when preparing or recommending test schedules.

Recent Test & Evaluation Experience

  • DT&E, OT&E and IO test & evaluation support to a variety of platforms including SKASaC, E-3D Sentry, Nimrod R1, LEAPP, JAS-39 Gripen, ASC890, FLORAKO, NATO ACCS & a number of different multi-MIDS network management solutions.
  • Support to NATO TDLITS Testing.
  • Comprehensive experience of most currently available testing/analysis/emulation equipment, e.g. BAES AGILE, Diginext TACTX, Diginext DLGU 16, QinetiQ JTU, QinetiQ MIDAS, LM MANDRIL, LM PUMA, LM CIVET & NG TIGER.

Ensuring that you have the most capable and suitable test tool is imperative. We have comprehensive user experience of most TDL test tools and, being impartial to tool providers, understand technically how best each tool could support your evaluation and testing, ensuring that you have the right tool to match your requirements. Whether you are about to embark on the development phase of a new system or are updating an existing capability we are very well placed to support you and all of your testing needs.

We are intimately familiar with all of the major TDLs in operational use today and have extensive expertise in the integration of these TDLs into the military environment. Use of multiple TDLs within the same operational environment, including the use of multiple MIDS/JTIDS Terminals by the same ground based system, brings its own unique challenges, many of which we have experienced, and overcome previously.

Recent Multi TDL (MTDL) Management Experience

  • Delivering SME advice, support and guidance to the UK SACC DT and UKJDLMO on Frequency Clearance Compliance Testing and evaluation.
  • Support to the UKJDLMO on Network on Link 16 Network Design
  • Network Design Support and Management across Link 11A, 11B,16, SADL and JREAP networks
  • Multi MIDS Terminal Integration Acquisition Support to multiple nations across NATO and PFP countries.
  • Deployable MTDL Network Management and Design on recent coalition operations

Our MTDL network operation, design and planning expertise spans all Military environments and includes operational management and acquisition support to a multitude of MTDL systems. Whether it be FCA compliance testing and support, MTDL Interoperability issues/planning, Data Forwarding, MTDL management or MTDL system acquisition support, we at JCSys have the experience to support you on all levels.

As the incumbent UK MOD TDL FCA Support contractor, we provide advice on all matters relating to the Frequency Clearance approval to use Link 16. We have a number of highly qualified individuals that have unparalleled levels of knowledge in this specialised domain. Our experience includes undertaking all aspects of frequency clearance interference testing, development of FCA specific safety case documentation as well as supporting the user community in carrying out FCA compliance monitoring. Our team have been involved with the Frequency Clearance programme for the last 3 decades and have supported the UK MOD in continuously developing and improving the FCA to meet the ever changing needs of the operational community. In addition our team includes former civil regulatory authority employees, with past responsibility for overseeing the approval to use Link 16, giving us a unique insight to both sides of the FCA equation.

Recent Frequency Clearance Related Experience

  • Complete update of the UK Frequency Clearance Baseline Safety case and the development of an FCA Safety Management System.
  • Development of a new Generic Terminal Safety Case.
  • Undertaking FCA laboratory testing in support of Geographical Area Operations and use of Contention Access in the UK.
  • Chairmanship of the International Frequency Clearance Expert Group, responsible for developing the Common Frequency Clearance Criteria document.

Our experience gives us the ability to help identify national link 16 transmission requirements, identify the Communications, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) systems that will be affected by this use of link 16, test the impacts of link 16 transmission on CNS systems, look at ways to mitigate these impacts, and finally help produce a frequency clearance agreement that meets the needs of both the link 16 user community and civil authority alike.