Tactical Data Link

The United States Navy, Air Force, Army and other joint Services continue to modernize their platforms with Tactical Data Link (TDL) capabilities. As a result, it is no surprise that the requirements to provide simulation for this established tactical data link continue to grow. The modeling of TDL has many aspects to it, but the fundamental concept remains that the data is passed over a radio frequency link, and in many cases uses the same core transmitter and receiver as the voice communications. Therefore, it makes sense that the same system that handles the voice is employed to transfer the data.

The basic TDL interface software allows the transfer of host originated data via the radio model objects and correct reception based on the core radio features. Using this approach ensures that this behavior is supported both locally and across networked environments.

The ACE TDL basic process sends the packet data structure via signal PDUs, radios are used to transmit the data, and the DIS network is used as a conduit. ACE TDL capabilities include:

  • All radios are TDL capable.
  • All TDL configuration is set in ACE Studio.
  • The radio handles voice-data contention. If a radio is actively transmitting voice, a data message from the host will be buffered until voice transmission has completed.
  • Rather than simply bridge the data, it is transported through the radio component and data throttling may be applied.
  • Radios utilize the message size and data rate fields in the signal PDU header. A radio will hold in active transmit for the appropriate amount of time.
  • A radio will transmit data messages as soon as it is sent from the host, a 'Data Signal Tx' flag from the host computer is not needed to transmit the data onto the DIS or HLA network.
  • The radios automatically handle voice and data contention.

For more information on TDL configuration in ACE see ASTi Application Note 26: Part VII