Posted by John Keller
SAN DIEGO, 11 Aug. 2013. Two U.S. defense communications organizations are receiving orders from the U.S. Navy to provide military airborne communications terminals designed to enable aircraft, surface ships, ground vehicles, and fixed-site installations share important information in real time.
ViaSat Inc. in Carlsbad, Calif., and Data Link Solutions in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won contracts from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego for Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVTs). The contracts were announced this past week.
ViaSat is receiving a $21.7 million contract and Data Link Solutions is receiving an $11.4 million contract. Data Link Solutions (DLS) joint venture of the BAE Systems Electronic Systems segment in Nashua, N.H., and Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The MIDS-LVT provides secure, high capacity, jam resistant, digital data and voice communications capability for U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army platforms.
The MIDS-LVT uses a NATO tactical data link called Link 16 to enable military forces to exchange their tactical picture in near-real time, as well as to exchange text messages and imagery, and provide two channels of digital voice that transmits and receives at 2.4 and 16 kilobits per second.
For example, Link 16 enables fighter aircraft and missile-defense forces to share radar information from the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), as well as to share a real-time tactical picture that points out the locations of friendly and enemy forces.
The MIDS-LVT is one of the latest versions of Link 16 terminals, and is smaller, more lightweight, and less expensive than the original Link 16 terminal called the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS).
ViaSat's MIDS-LVT(1) airborne terminal uses reprogrammable components and a modular VME architecture, and can exchange coded data as quickly as 800 kilobits per second. The Data Link Solutions MIDS-LVT uses a 1 ATR form factor, VME and RS-422 databuses, and SEM-E circuit cards.
The contracts to ViaSat and Data Link Solutions are for communications terminals headed to U.S. forces, as well as to the militaries of Australia, Oman, Thailand, Poland, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.