Tactical Data Links

Model, simulate and analyze the performance of a tactical data link for a national aerospace company

Tactical MANET Radios


  • A Ground Station (GS) is connected to the Early Warning Radar (EWR), via ground network infrastructure
  • The GS starts up the network, does the time slot assignment, generates the crypto key and the frequency hopping pattern
  • GS then broadcasts the Air Picture to all friendly aircraft
  • Friendly aircraft broadcast their positions periodically to one another and to the GS
  • When enemy aircraft is detected by the EWR it transmits information to the GS
  • GS in turn broadcasts the updated Air Picture to friendly aircraft, which then engage the enemy


Parameter Value
Grid Length 300x300 km Slot Duration 50 ms
Encryption AES256
Bits per slot 2500 bits
RF Power 20 W
Modulation QPSK
RX Sensitivity -108 dbm

Performance Analysis

A set of simulation runs covering a wide range of input parameters were run to study the system performance. Some of the observations discovered after an in-depth analysis of the simulation results were -

  • With the low bit rates available and with RF propagation losses too many Air Picture packets
  • Time slots were not immediately available for the GS given the round robin slot allocation


  • Reduce the Recognized Air Picture (RAP) packet size
  • Move from a round robin to demand based slot allocation
  • Layer 3 routing could be added in the future for communication between nets