MIDS LVT (Multifunction Information Distribution System Low Volume Terminal)
MIDS is a major U.S.-led international program in which Link 16 compatible data communications terminals are being developed. Link 16 is defined as the designation for Joint Tactical Information Data System (JTIDS) waveform and protocol compatible radios that transmit and receive data messages in the TADIL J message catalog. MIDS will provide interoperable data communications that will link fighter aircraft to airborne controllers, surveillance radars, collection assets, and ground-based command and control (C2) nodes, such as Deployed Coalition Air or Operations Center (DCAOC).
The MIDS program was created to put small, lightweight, Link 16 terminals on U.S. and NATO fighter aircraft. With Fighter Data Link (FDL) and Low Volume Terminal (LVT) MIDS terminals, Link 16 communications networks can include all critical U.S. F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 aircraft. Link 16 will provide a range of important information to U.S. combat aircraft: an integrated air picture that includes the locations, velocities, and heading of friendly and hostile aircraft, general situation awareness data, (e.g., waypoints and landmarks), and amplification of data on air and ground targets will allow the integrated control of fighters by either ground-based or airborne controllers. It will also provide the capability to transmit in near-real-time threat and targeting data to U.S. combat aircraft, thereby enabling new concepts of operation for the U.S. of off-board sensor data in attack operations.
New MIDS Design Meets Interoperability Requirements
Harris with its team leader ViaSat is responding to the U.S. Navy’s need for MIDS production competition. Our team is under contract to the U.S. Navy to qualify and initiate low-rate initial production of the LVT-1 Terminal and was selected by the U.S. Army to produce all of the initial LVT-2 Terminals. Our design upgrades many terminal components to provide greater flexibility, decrease cost, and improve reliability. Using ViaSat’s Link-16 Enhanced Throughput concept, the new terminal delivers up to 1.2 Mb/s data rates (beyond current JTIDS limits). Embedded modules provide COMSEC and TACAN waveform communications with no added hardware.
Technology Insertion for Innovation Flexibility Through Reprogramming
Through extensive use of reprogrammable components, and a modular VME architecture, we’ve provided a lower-cost design and allowed for easy insertion of future capabilities. The design ensures that all terminal modules are interoperable and interchangeable with all other MIDS terminals. The terminal is fully interoperable with JTIDS/MIDS/ Link-16 waveform and operational modes, and supports all required MIDS host platforms.
Advanced Link-16 Technology Up to 10 Times Higher Data Rates
Harris and ViaSat have been developing other significant Link-16 technologies and capabilities. These include: