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3SDL at RIAT 2019 - Getting fit and ready for Link 16 Modernisation

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August 12, 2019

A great weekend at the Royal International Air Tattoo 2019 for 3SDL. The show’s next generation air and space theme brought together an inspiring gathering of UK and international military equipment sponsors, industry manufacturers and suppliers and operators. Against a backdrop of current platforms and future capabilities it was a tremendous opportunity for us to discuss our C4ISR services and solutions with those that are shaping the future, whilst delivering the battle-winning capabilities required today. Despite the poor weather on Friday and the inevitable crowds and traffic queues when the sun finally did come out, RIAT was as vibrant, invigorating and satisfying as ever.

3SDL were delighted to be hosted across the weekend by industry partners and colleagues and to have the opportunity to discuss the “so what” for tech and digital focused SMEs arising from announcements at RIAT of new Defence programmes. Three really caught the eye:

• The small satellite demonstrator under Artemis and the connectivity of space-derived information with combat aircraft

• The development of novel unmanned demonstrators under Project Mosquito

• Finally, the airborne technology and testing ‘lab’ for sensor and system integration into the future combat air concept Tempest – each should inspire bold and creative suppliers, willing to adapt and innovate to meet the challenges of next generation air and space capabilities.

That is where 3SDL wants to be.

One of the steps on the way, will of course be Link 16 modernisation and the maintenance of secure, assured and interoperable tactical communications for situational awareness and C2 in the digital battlespace. Many of the aircraft and platforms that will be impacted by modernisation were on display at RIAT. With these as a backdrop, 3SDL captured on film some of our thoughts and insights on the future challenges and requirements for Link 16.

Boeing E-3A Sentry - image from Gloucestershire Live

These snippets offer a view on why we believe this is one of the most important change programmes that all Link 16 equipped nations will face in the next few years – the risks to equipment integration budgets, C2 interoperability and overall information advantage through degraded Link 16 systems are, in the minds of many, just too great to ignore.

The sight of the NATO 70th Anniversary flypast on Saturday at RIAT, bringing together AWACS, fighters, and air refuelling tankers from the UK, US, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Norway reinforced to us the significance of the tactical information exchange that makes security alliances and partnerships like NATO work. We will be doing all we can to push the case for a programme approach to Link 16 modernisation in all user nations and offering our expertise to the enhanced system design, testing, training and operational planning that will be needed.

So, well done again to RIAT for showcasing the future and highlighting the challenges that international Defence partners face to delivering the next generation of air and space capabilities. And thank you to our hosts for making us so welcome. 3SDL were delighted to be part of RIAT 2019 and we look forward to continuing our work with military and industry colleagues to create the secure, assured and interoperable future that will keep all of our nations safe.

Stay tuned for exciting video updates, as well as further insights on the critical Link 16 change programme, on our website and Social Media channels soon.

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