The Viasat Battlefield Awareness and Targeting System – Dismounted (BATS-D) AN/PRC-161, the first-ever handheld Link 16 radio, has received National Security Agency (NSA) Type 1 certification, the company announced.
The BATS-D handheld radio combines decades of Viasat experience in both Link 16 radio technology and Type 1 encryption solutions. It is a unique product, based on Viasat patented radio communication technology, providing direct access to a line of sight tactical datalink network for aircraft and ships in a handheld, dismounted form factor for ground forces.
It comes to the field compliant for the Link 16 cryptographic modernization initiative (CMI) mandate, and is the first Link 16 radio to be natively certified for CMI as part of its initial certification.
The radio leverages a derivative of Viasat’s proven and certified Link 16 CMI implementation used on all MIDS JTRS (Multi-functional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System) and MIDS LVT (Multifunctional Information Distribution System Low Volume Terminal) Block Upgrade II radios.
BATS-D was specifically designed to enable direct, digital communications between a dismounted Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) and supporting Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft. As BATS-D was a Non-Developmental Item (NDI) product, the NSA additionally wanted to verify it would be interoperable with other Link 16 radios such as the MIDS JTRS and the KOR-24A Small Tactical Terminal (STT) and added interoperability testing as a requirement to the BATS-D Type 1 certification process.
“We’re proud to announce our BATS-D handheld radio successfully interoperated with MIDS JTRS, STT and MIDS LVT products in the CMI and legacy modes on the very first attempt,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “This is a testament to our Link 16 radio innovation, our agile development process, our focus on advanced crypto solutions and our decision to bring a commercial model to the defense market. We have certified BATS-D units available today to support U.S. and overseas contingency operations immediately, enabling us to ship product today without any wait.”