Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminal (MIDS-LVT)
The Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminal (MIDS-LVT) was designed as an advanced Link-16 command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) system incorporating high-capacity, jam-resistant, digital communication links for exchange of near real-time tactical information, including both data and voice, among air, ground, and sea elements. MIDS-LVT was intended to support key theater functions such as surveillance, identification, air control, weapons engagement coordination, and direction for all the Services and Allied forces. The system would provide jamming-resistant, wide-area communications on a Link-16 network among MIDS and Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) equipped platforms.
In addition to performing C3I functions, MIDS would serve as a navigation aid by providing relative navigation position-keeping functions through the use of precise participant location and identification (PPLI) Link-16 messages and incorporates TACAN functionality that replaces the AN/ARN-118 TACAN system. MIDS was also designed to be fully interoperable with the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS), an earlier Link-16 system. As a Pre-Planned Product Improvement of the JTIDS Class 2 Terminal, the MIDS-LVT would employ the Link-16 (TADIL-J) message standard of US Navy/NATO publications. Although the MIDS-LVT terminal would have the same performance capabilities as the Class 2 JTIDS Terminal, its size and weight would be significantly reduced.
Platforms identified for MIDS-LVT integration include aircraft carriers, cruisers, F/A-18, F-16, EA-6B, and Airborne Laser. Additionally, MIDS-LVT was being integrated into Eurofighter-2000 and Rafale Allied platforms. Navy ships would be the first US platforms equipped with MIDS-LVT, followed by incorporation of the system into F/A-18 and F-16 aircraft representing the majority (1,650+) of the US MIDS-LVT buy. McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft (subsequently Boeing Company) was awarded the integration contract for MIDS-LVT in the F/A-18.
There were three MIDS-LVT variants: MIDS-LVT 1 for aircraft and shipboard integration, the MIDS-LVT 2 for Army land based host platform integration, and the MIDS-LVT 3 (also known as Fighter Data Link) for the Air Force F-15 fleet. MIDS-LVT 1 had two competing production contractors: Data Link Solutions, Inc. (DLS) and Via Sat, Inc. The Army designated Via Sat, Inc. as the sole manufacturer of MIDS-LVT 2. The MIDS-LVT 3 program would was expected to complete deliveries in January 2004.
The MIDS-LVT 1 and MIDS-LVT 2 were planned for integration into 13 separate host platform types. The F/A-18 was the lead host platform for MIDS-LVT 1 integration and required 53 percent of the total planned MIDS-LVT 1 acquisition of 1,880 terminals. The integration of the MIDS-LVT 1 into the F/A-18 served as the primary basis for the MIDS-LVT 1 IOT&E. The F-16 (Blocks 40 and 50) required 35 percent of planned MIDS-LVT 1 terminals and was approximately one year behind the F/A-18 in terms of integration and test schedule. The MIDS-LVT 1 replaces the analog AN/ARN-118 TACAN to provide a digital TACAN function for the F/A-18 and F-16 fighter aircraft. This installation was reversible in the F/A-18 allowing reinstallation of the AN/ARN-118 TACAN should the need arise. The installation of MIDS in the F-16 is permanent. The TACAN function provides air-to-ground and air-to-air modes of navigation information.
The Patriot Information Coordination Central (ICC) was the lead host platform for integration of the MIDS-LVT 2. However, the Patriot Battery Command Post (BCP) would require the majority of MIDS-LVT 2 terminals. Since Link 16 integration into the BCP was phased, the integration of MIDS-LVT 2 into the Patriot ICC and BCP Phase 1 (Link 16 not integrated into host sensors and Link 16 receive only) was to served as the basis for the MIDS-LVT 2 IOT&E.
The Army's MIDS LVT 2 was a high-capacity, anti-jam, secure, line-of-sight radio capable of providing situation awareness. It's a low-cost replacement for the Army's Class 2M terminal that was smaller and weighed less. MIDS LVT 2 is derived from MIDS LVT 1, used by the Air Force, Navy and American allies. It was modified to be functionally interchangeable with the Class 2M to satisfy the approved ORD and reduce integration and training costs. LVT 2 had 85-percent commonality in parts with LVT 1, with main differences in cooling, power supply, host interface and eliminating unnecessary air-platform features. LVT 2 used the same spread-spectrum communications technology to provide Navy Link 16 message capability. LVT 2 was intended to be used by Army air-defense platforms for engagement operations, command and control, surveillance, intelligence, weapon status and coordination, and battlefield situation awareness (air and ground).
As of March 2008, the MIDS program was transforming the existing MIDS Low Volume Terminal-a jam-resistant, secure voice and data information distribution system, into a 4-channel, Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS)-compliant radio that would be used in different types of aircraft, ships, and ground stations for the military services. At that time the Government Accountability Office assessed the development of the MIDS-JTRS core terminal, as well as the status of the planned JTRS platform capability package. This planned package included an airborne networking waveform, being developed by the JTRS Network Enterprise Domain. The MIDS-JTRS package was planned to be a form, fit, and functional replacement for the MIDS-LVT, but was suspended pending a review of necessary requirements during 2007.
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