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Link and Drive

Saab outline Swedish Navy communications modernisation plans

The Svenska Marinen (Royal Swedish Navy) expects to complete integration of new Tactical Datalink (TDL) protocols across a range of ship classes by 2020, Saab has told MONS.

The company stated that it will perform a wholesale introduction of the NATO standard Link-16 and Link-22 protocols onboard all five of the fleet’s ‘Visby’ class and two ‘Gävle’ class corvettes, onboard the HSWMS Carlskrona offshore patrol vessel/headquarters ship and a shore-based Link-16/22 installation at the Royal Swedish Navy’s naval school. Saab continued that the TDL protocols will be integrated within the vessel communications systems outfitting all these vessels.

While the Link-16 TDL is primarily used to support air operations, allowing the sharing of tactical information across a frequency band of 960 megahertz/MHz to 1.215 gigahertz/GHz, the Link-22 TDL will eventually replace NATO’s current Link-11 TDL. Link-22 will operate using both fixed frequency and frequency agile approaches across a waveband of of two megahertz to 30MHz providing both ground-wave and sky-wave communications, alongside communications in the Ultra High Frequency band of 225MHz to 400MHz.

The Royal Swedish Navy’s decision to adopt both Link-16/22 on these vessels is unsurprising. In recent years, the country has deepened its involvement in multilateral operations, notably supporting NATO’s combined air and maritime campaign in Libya in 2011, NATO activities in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2014, and has assisted Operation ATALANTA; a European Union-led initiative to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean/Red Sea regions. In 2010, HSWMS Carlskrona served as the headquarters ship for this initiative. Moreover, increasingly muscular military activity by the Russian armed forces in the Baltic region underscores the importance of the navy enhancing its multilateral interoperability toolset.

Thomas Withington


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