11 March 1998: Add today's press release and background

10 March 1998
Source: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar1998/p03091998_p051-98.html

No. 051-P


March 9, 1998

Undersecretary of Defense (Aquisition and Technology) Dr. Jacques S. Gansler and representatives of the office of the assistant secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) will receive the initial delivery of the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Low Volume Terminal in a Pentagon ceremony on Wednesday, March 11, 1998 at 1 p.m. The ceremony will take place in Room 3B1062, Lounge 2.

MIDS is the next generation of Link-16 terminals. It is a tactical, secure, jam resistant voice and data communications system that will be used by the United States and allies in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. MIDS is the Department of Defense's first successful cooperative development of an electronic systems program.

The ceremony is open to press coverage. Reporters interested in attending this ceremony should contact Susan Hansen, Pentagon press office, at (703) 693-6858.

Source: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar1998/b03111998_bt104-98.html

No. 104-98


March 11, 1998

(703) 695-0192(media)


Department of Defense representatives accepted initial delivery of the Low Volume Terminal of the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) from MIDSCO Inc. in a ceremony at the Pentagon today. Undersecretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology) Jacques Gansler spoke briefly on the value of international programs following receipt of the MIDS terminal from John Sputz, president of MIDSCO.

MIDS, the next generation of Link-16 terminals, is the Department of Defense's first successful cooperative development of an electronic systems program. It is a tactical, secure, jam resistant voice and data communications systems that will be fully interoperable with the earlier Link-16 system, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS). It features new Link-16 capabilities for multinational and multiplatform interoperability in support of coalition forces.

The contract for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of this command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) program was awarded in March 1994 by the U.S. Navy on behalf of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States. Managed by the MIDS International Program Office, MIDS has been heralded as a model of acquisition reform and international cooperation. The program has been recognized with the David Packard Acquisition Excellence Award in March 1997 and the Department of Defense Value Engineering Award in May 1997.

In the current development phase, the participant countries have funded 108 EMD terminals and associated support equipment. MIDS customers include the European EF2000, the French RAFALE, and the U.S. F/A-18, F-16 and F-15. International production is expected to exceed 5,000 terminals. Earlier program deliveries included 11 MIDS simulators that are being used to integrate the capability into an array of combat systems.

MIDSCO Inc. is a U.S. chartered, international joint venture corporation located in Fairfield, N.J. MIDSCO's multinational management and technical staff is composed of professionals from its five member companies, which include ENOSA, GEC-Marconi Hazeltine, MID SpA (formerly Italtel), Siemens and Thomson-CSF.


Source: http://www.dote.osd.mil/reports/FY96/96MIDS.html

FY 96 Annual Report



MIDS is a communications, navigation, and identification system intended to exchange surveillance and command and control (C2) information among various C2 platforms and weapons platforms to enhance varied missions of each of the Services. MIDS is the next generation Joint Tactical Information System terminal, providing improvements over the Class 2 family of terminals. MIDS is smaller and lighter than previous terminals and can be installed in platforms that are space limited, such as the F/A-18. MIDS is projected to have lower initial costs, increased reliability and lower life-cycle costs. MIDS equipped platforms will be fully capable LINK 16 participants.


MIDS Low Volume Terminal (MIDS-LVT). MIDS-LVT is a program sponsored by five NATO countries (United States, France, Italy, Germany, Spain) with the U.S. Navy as lead Service for U.S. applications and overall program manager. A contract was awarded to MIDSCO, a consortium of defense contractors from each of the participating countries. GEC-Marconi, a U.S. subsidiary, is the prime contractor. The program is managed by the Navy MIDS International Program Office. Navy ships will be the first U.S. platform equipped with MIDS-LVT. However, the MIDS-LVT buy for ships is relatively small. The F/A-18 represents the majority of the U.S. MIDS-LVT buy (80 percent). McDonnell Douglas Aircraft was awarded the integration contract for MIDS-LVT in the F/A-18. The full-rate production decision, DAB Milestone III, for the MIDS program occurs September 1998, after the completion of OT&E onboard ships. OT&E onboard F/A-18s does not occur until FY99.

MIDS-LVT(2) Terminal. This variant of the terminal has reduced functionality as compared to the MIDS-LVT (no tactical air navigation (TACAN), no secure voice) while still meeting operational requirements for Army applications. The Army program is managed through the Navy MIDS International Program Office. The Army plans to transition from JTIDS Class 2M terminals to MIDS-LVT(2) terminals to satisfy its LINK 16 communications requirements. The transition is scheduled to occur FY99. A total of 82 Class 2M terminals and 88 MIDS-LVT(2) terminals are to be bought. The intended host platforms are PATRIOT, Theater High Altitude Area Defense, Medium Extended Air Defense System, and other air defense artillery applications. Planned OT&E for Army is still being developed but will likely occur after the full-rate production decision for the MIDS program.

MIDS Fighter Data Link (FDL). The MIDS FDL has reduced capabilities as compared to the MIDS-LVT (No TACAN, no secure voice, lower output power), while still meeting operational requirements for applications with Air Force fighter aircraft. The Air Force program is managed through the Navy MIDS International Program Office. The Air Force plans to meet its LINK 16 communications requirements by buying 450 terminals for F-15C/D fighter aircraft. A contract will be awarded for 50 initial production terminals with options for an additional 400 terminals. The FDL program is designed to satisfy the Air Force's urgent need requirements as stated in their approved Class 2R Operational Requirements Document. Accordingly, the program is operating under a compressed schedule. A combined DT/OT is scheduled for FY98 and will support the full-rate production decision for the MIDS program.


During FY96 there was one major OT&E activity. MIDS-LVT OT-IIA-1 was conducted the last week of August. While MIDS-LVT terminals were not available, OT-IIA-1 used a terminal emulator integrated into an F/A-18 simulator with a pseudo LINK16 network. The focus was man-machine interface for the F/A-18. Pilots assessed the information displays and button interactions. There was no OT&E activity for the MIDS-LVT(2) and MIDS FDL.


OT-IIA-1 complied with the OSD-approved MIDS-LVT TEMP of July 1994, and DOT&E approved the OTP. Results from OT-IIA-1 are pending until completion of the final report by the Navy OTA, COMOPTEVFOR. However, based on DOT&E observations during the test, MIDS-LVT has the potential to be operationally effective. Based on the operational scenarios used, several of the information displays are being modified to enhance ease of operations for the pilots.

Source: http://www.global-defence-review.com/DataLink.html

Data link systems

providing military forces with mission-critical equipment

GEC-Marconi Hazeltine know only too well that the major task facing military forces is to prevail against an enemy well equipped with advanced weapons systems.

Fighter aircraft, ground forces and anti-aircraft weapons all operate within the same battle area and to be effective in their individual missions all must know their own location and the geo-graphic relationships with friendly and hostile forces. It is imperative that accurate information is shared immediately. To meet the command and control needs of these fast-moving forces, huge amounts of data must be exchanged between automated systems.

The joint tactical information distribution system (JTIDS), also known as Link 16, provides a proven method of situational awareness and information exchange in all combat environments. Link 16 information is broadcast omnidirectionally at hundreds of thousands of bits each second and can be received by any terminal within range. It operates over 51 frequencies between 960 and 1215MHz and information flows directly from many transmitters to many receivers using a form of time-sharing known as time division multiple access (TDMA).

The effect of being able to pass great amounts of data between large numbers of participants is called situational awareness. Users are able to utilise all available information to assure the survivability of their own platform and the success of their mission. With Link 16, members of a task force can share sensor data and co-ordi-nate timing via the high-speed TDMA network. The sharing of messages by air and ground forces reduces dual targeting and redundant expen-diture of weaponry. In addition, the broadcast of status and location messages enables asso-ciated members and command control facilities to monitor progress of a mission.

Table I

Class 2
(Data Processor
Class 2M Class 2H
Power Supply

Volume (ft3) 0.89/0.69 1.3 4.9 0.5/0.3 0.45

Size (in) 12.75W x 7.62H x
15.8L/10.12W x
7.62H x 15.56L
14.0W x
7.7H x
13.5L x 7.5W x
7.62H/13.5L x 2.25W
x 7.62H
13.5L x 7.5W
x 7.62H

Weight (lb) 125 83 340 46/14.3 50

Input Power 115V, 3 Phase,
28Vdc 115V, 3 Phase
115V, 3 Phase, 400Hz
or 280Vdc plus
120V, 1 Phase, 50/60Hz
or 115V, 3 Phase, 50/60Hz
or 28Vdc (via adapter)
115V, 3 Phase

I/O Interface 1553 MUX ADDSI
1553 MUX 1553 MUX
ANSI 3910 Hi Speed MUX,
IEEE 802.3 Ethernet
1553 MUX
ANSI 3910 Hi Speed MUX,
IEEE 802.3 Ethernet

Cooling Platform Supplied Integral Blower Platform Supplied Platform Supplied Platform Supplied

Link 16 terminals periodically and automatically broadcast a precise position location and identification (PPLI) message. PPLIs provide a reliable identification of the platform in which the termi-nal is installed, reducing or eliminating the risk of damage from friendly fire. Furthermore, com-mand and control and/or sensor centres can transmit an identification of those sites within their Link 16 track files, providing an indirect method of combat identification.

These capabilities were implemented initially via a series of hardware product lines known as class 1, class 2, and multifun-ction information distribution system (MIDS). GEC-Marconi Hazeltine and Rockwell Collins' avionics and communication division supply class 2 terminals to the US Government and currently the class 2 is in production and will be integrated in multiple platforms. MIDS is in its engineering/manufacturing development phase and will enter production in 1998/99.

The first JTIDS terminal was developed in 1974 to service large command control facilities and platforms such as the E-3 AWACS. The terminal was designated as class 1 and was a large rack-mounted unit that employed an early version message protocol called Interim JTIDS message standard. GEC-Marconi Hazeltine and Rockwell began development of the class 2 fighter-sized terminal in 1980 that initially was planned for installation in the F-15 air superiority fighter. In the intervening years, the class 2 was improved to allow it to provide Link 16 to other platforms and systems including the Tornado, UK Air Defense Ground Environment, F-14D, modular control equipment, ABCCC, Joint STARS and USN submarines. This terminal used a more capable message protocol called tactical digital information link (TADIL J). A high pow-ered version of the class 2 line, called the class 2H, employs a linear power amplifier to increase RF output to 1000 watts. The class 2H is used on command control/surveillance platforms such as the E-3 AWACS and E-2C airborne early warning (AEW) system. A cabinet-mounted ver-sion of the Class 2H is used to service navy combatants including carriers, cruisers and destroyers. An army variant also was developed to meet tactical and mobility needs.

Link 16 displays have been designed to enable users to control, access and assess available data rapidly

Even before the class 2 programme entered the production phase of its life cycle, it became apparent that smaller, more affordable Link 16 terminals were becoming technically feasible. As a result, the decision was made to develop a class 2 equivalent-capability Link 16 terminal that would take advantage of evolving computer developments and electronic technology. The resultant programme undertook the develop-ment of the multifunction information distribution system (MIDS) low-volume terminal (LVT), an operationally equivalent, open architecture, lower cost class 2 system.

Table 2

Class 2
(Data Processor
Class 2M Class 2H


TACAN Internal Internal Internal Internal Compatible
w- external

*Some systems have been configured with TADIL-J only.

The US, France, Germany, Italy and Spain joined forces to develop the MIDS LVT and formed an international programme office located in Crystal City, Virginia, to manage the programme. Commercially, MIDS LVT development is man-aged by a corporation called MIDSCO that is headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey. MIDSCO is a multinational consortium comprised of GEC-Marconi Hazeltine (US), Thomson-CSF (France), Italtel (Italy), Siemens (Germany) and ENOSA (Spain). The baseline MIDS LVT is suitable for installation in aircraft and ground/airborne command control platforms. A MIDS LVT 2 variant also is in development for army tactical activi-ties. Tables I and II highlight the characteristics and capabilities of the Link 16 terminal family.

The most recent Link 16 development is the F-15C/D MIDS fighter data link (FDL) programme. The FDL is a reduced-capability terminal that meets the operational needs of the F-15 C/D air superiority platform. The MIDS FDL retains 80-per-cent commonality in hardware and software with the MIDS LVT design, but some capabilities common to the class 2 and MIDS LVT are reduced or eliminated to achieve operational requirements for F-15 C/Ds.

MIDS Fighter data link (FDL) terminal configuration

For the MIDS FDL programme a new company was formed by GEC-Marconi Hazeltine and Rockwell and the GEC/Rockwell team was awarded the MIDS fighter data link qualifica-tion programme on September 30, 1996. It requires the qualification and delivery of reduced- function MIDS fighter terminals for the US Air Force F-15 C/D. The initial contract is for six terminals required 16 months after contract award, with production and support options to be exercised at a later date. In total the US Air Force intends to procure 500 terminals from the GEC/Rockwell team. The programme also includes the participation of European partners and the Eldec Corporation is presently involved in the MIDS LVT programme.

These developments and their production programmes are providing both the US and its international defence partners with insights into the improvements in capability that are being reaped from the inform-ation age.

Source: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Aug1995/c082495_ct466-95.html

MIDSCO, Inc., Fairfield, New Jersey, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $17,467,000 modification to previously awarded contract N00039-94-C-0008 for firm supplies and services necessary for the design, development, fabrication, test and delivery of approximately 12 engineering development models of a U.S. Army variant of the Multi Functional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Communication System Low Volume Terminal as well as related software, hardware, ancillaries and data for the U.S. Army. Work will be performed in Wayne, New Jersey (41%), Paris, France (26.5%), Rome, Italy (18%), Unterschleissheim, Germany (7.5%), and Madrid, Spain (7%), and is expected to be completed by March 1999. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity for the U.S. Army.


International cooperation. Data processing. MIDS, tactical communication for the 21st century

MIDS (Multifunctional Information Distribution System) is the name of the Atlantic Alliance's future combined means of communicating voice and data. Five countries, including France, have just signed a development contract worth nearly 350 million dollars. It is due to come into service early in the next century. With many countries cutting down their fighting units more and more, it became urgent to develop a tactical communication system to compensate for the decrease in resources in the field with faster and more reliable communications. Five countries - the United States, France, Italy, Germany and Spain - have just launched the development of the first joint tactical communication system, known as MIDS. By the beginning of the next century, MIDS will make it possible to exchange data on air and ground situations between surveillance radar, command centres and battle zones.

MIDS, almost unlimited capacity

The source of MIDS was the American joint programme JTIDS (Joint Tactical Information Distribution System), developed in 1974, and it retains the same main principles. MIDS and JTIDS are fully compatible network systems for voice and data transmission, using the same spectrum-spreading and very fast frequency-jumping (76,000 times a second) in band L between 960 and 1215 MHz to avoid detection and jamming. The data are encrypted to prevent bugging and intrusion. JTIDS and MIDS operate by the TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) process, and can take up to 128 participants in a network. Each participant can either transmit at 200 Watts in its own time slots, or listen to the network for messages. It is also possible for a participant to be connected to several networks, because multiple networks can coexist, using the same set of frequencies in sequences which prevent any interference. This gives the MIDS almost unlimited capacity.

Clocks of pinpoint accuracy

The networks are controlled by clocks of pinpoint accuracy which allow transmission propagation time to be measured, so that the different subscribers using the networks can be located. When each subscriber's position is known, relative navigation between them is possible. These clocks are so accurate that they can synchronise transmissions from two jamming aircraft and produce an image in a different position from the actual aircraft, thus simulating fictitious jammers. Although JTIDS and MIDS are based on the same principles and are identical in performance, they use quite different technology. As a result of progress in integrating electronic components, the MIDS fits into a single 17-litre box, whereas the class 1 JTIDS of the seventies was 150 litres in volume. This compact radio terminal can be housed on board most fighter planes and armoured vehicles. To start with, it is planned to equip twelve units with MIDS, including the Eurofighter, F/AA-18, Tornado and Rafale aircraft, the Martha coordination systems for very short-range ground-to-air defence and French naval vessels. Some 3000 MIDS terminals will be needed for these twelve units.

26.5% of the programme for Thomson-CSF

The GEC-Marconi group is in charge of organising the MIDS programme. A joint company, Midsco, was formed in 1989, between GEC-Marconi and a company in each of the five countries involved in the programme. GEC-Marconi has a 41% stake, Thomson-CSF (France) 26.5%, Italtel (Italy) 18%, Indra (Spain) 7.5% and Siemens (Germany) 7%. The contract which has just been signed is for 80 prototypes. Thomson-CSF will develop the power-supply system, the receiver and synthesizer, and software for the interfaces with each unit's specific data bus. The French company will also be responsible for integrating the radio functions. GEC-Marconi will, among other things, deal with aspects of signal and data processing and with integrating some of the prototypes. Italtel will produce the interface modules and integrate the European prototypes. Indra will develop the  processor and voice cards and Siemens the power amplifier.


Thomson-CSF. Defence and Control Systems Division, 18 avenue du Marechal-Juin, 92366 Meudon-la-Foret Cedex, France. Public Relations Department: Joëlle Lebreton. Tel: (33.1) Fax: (33.1)

Source: http://tsd.r3.gsa.gov/bsc/bsc_nj.htm


Defense Logistics Agency
164 Totowa Road, Mail Stop 11A30
Wayne, NJ 07474
(201) 633-4516

Source: http://www.dcmde.dla.mil/springfield.htm

Your PAL for DCMC Springfield-GEC/Kearfott/Midsco is:

Mark Szemberski
P.O. Box 975
164 Totowa Road
Wayne, NJ 07474-0975
(973) 633-3426