Special Course on Tactical Data Links


Sensor inputs to Tactical Data Links

Date: Friday 31 August 2018
Time: 9.00am to 11.30am
Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
Room: B1
Cost   AUD$245.00
Register: Click here to register

An understanding of Tactical Data Links is vital for the modern radar practitioner. Data links are a foundational part of current and future networked radar systems. Standardised tactical data links provide highly secure networked connectivity between sensors, effectors, and associated command and control systems at the machine-to-machine level across a range of terrestrial and mobile platforms. They operate at interconnect speeds and at data exchange volumes beyond any possible human-to-human interaction, and the networking of multiple platforms leverages sensor capabilities beyond that of an individual sensor working in isolation. It is no longer prudent to design radars without considering the technology of how they will interact with the broader overall system, especially as the use of Tactical Data Links are becoming more prolific and their capabilities are expanding beyond their current surveillance capability. 

Conversely, the data links of an adversary are open to exploitation by the radar designer. They can be used to improve target location accuracy since data links are frequently used by potential radar targets as they seek capability leverage by operating as part of a networked system. Wireless tactical data links, in particular, present a significant exploitable opportunity to the designer. They are potential emitter-of-opportunity sources for passive-coherent radar and are signal sources for passive direction-finding. Future radar systems that include passive-coherent radar and passive direction-finding in the overall radar design will improve tracking performance for data link equipped targets beyond that of conventional radio-location systems


  • Basics of Tactical Data Links (TDLs), including Link 11, Link 16, Joint Range Extension Application Protocol (JREAP)
  • Overview of the Military Standards applicable to Tactical Data Links
  • Insight into the Link 16 Frequencies, transmission frequency hopping, data encoding, cryptographic encoding
  • Military use of data derived from Radar Sensors
  • The role of IFF in identification of tracks. Unique Mode 2
  • New IFF Mode 5 and Mode S data
  • Problems with crossing tracks, ID confusion, IFF on wrong track
  • Current capabilities of various ADF Platforms – e.g. E-7A MESA Radar, F/A-18F Radar
  • How Radar derived data is combined and distributed and how is it is used in Reporting Responsibility (R2) rules
  • How data derived from adversary transmissions are combined with Radar data


James Stephens
James is the Principal Engineer for the Tactical Data Link Services team at Boeing Defence Australia (BDA). He has been with BDA for 21 years and has worked across of range of projects. He worked in the USA for 8 years as a part of the Australian Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft tactical data link implementation and test team, then moved to work on the Vigilare Program which is the Royal Australia Air Force’s ground-based Command and Control system, again working on the development of their tactical data links.

James has a thorough knowledge of Tactical Data Links, from an in-depth understanding of the requirements, a comprehensive range of testing background through to experience on a number of Defence exercises and platform tests.

Ross Gibbons
Ross is a former Royal Australian Navy Combat Systems Manager (Air Controller) who has been with Boeing Defence Australia (BDA) for 13 years and has worked on the Vigilare Program, which is the Royal Australia Air Force’s ground-based Command and Control system where he lead the development of the Tactical Data Link (TDL) requirements and participated in the entire TDL test program leading to the deployment and acceptance at site. He has also been involved with the Australian Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft program where he was again responsible for the development of changes to the latest baseline and conduct of the testing program.

Ross has a thorough understanding of Tactical Data Links, in particular, the development of detailed requirements, and is able to provide an operational perspective on the use and employment of TDLs within the Australian Defence Force.

Should you have any questions please contact us via radar2018@arinex.com.au.