Hanwha Systems selected to lead development of joint tactical data link system

By Lim Chang-won Posted : November 18, 2020, 09:26 Updated : November 18, 2020, 11:00

[Courtesy of Hanwha Systems]

SEOUL -- In modern warfare, superior situation awareness is crucial for rapid command decisions and precisely guided munition. The main communicational enabler is a tactical data link that transmits, relays and receives tactical data. U.S. allies use Link 16, a jam-resistant, high-speed network that allows military aircraft, ships and ground forces to exchange their tactical picture in near-real-time.

South Korea is pushing for the development of a joint tactical data link system (JTDLS) in complete format that shares real-time situational awareness and command and control information. It interconnects strategic and tactical systems effectively using satellites as well as wireless and wired networks.

JTDLS will allow fighters, ships and ground forces to share theater information, stationary or mobile, according to the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), a state agency for research and development in defense technology. South Korea has developed a tactical data link network called "Link-K."

The agency selected Hanwha System, a key defense contractor in South Korea, to lead a project that will require about 130 billion won ($117 million) over six years to develop the main and auxiliary equipment of Link-K, improve its transmission speed and interlock with foreign data links. An anti-jamming function will be added.

Hanwha Systems said the complete type would help South Korea end its reliance on a foreign system and expand Link-K to various weapon systems. Link-K can successfully connect battlefield information collected through a domestic surveillance system to the joint operation control tower and various weapons systems.

"Based on our unique technology and experience, we will successfully develop the complete type of JTDLS to lead the advanced smart defense of our nation," said Hanwha Systems CEO Kim Youn-chul. The company has played a key role in establishing the advanced communication system of South Korean troops.

Under its latest deal, Hanwha System will develop an artificial intelligence staff officer that would become an interactive brain trust to provide detailed analysis and aggregated assessments for decision-making by commanders. It would be the first military project to incorporate AI technology into an intelligent battlefield recognition system.

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