link16 seem to be a broadcast type thing oriented for awacs->many fighters usage. gripen TIDLS has a massive 500km range and can netwk
4 fighters together using many clever tricks to indulge in 'shadow games' even when no Ereyie is there.
I have found a couple of link about IAF datalink effort but not much
details. I would think prototype stage for the airborne component
is already there or imminent.
India to get network centric warfare capability: Naik
Sat-Aug 16, 2008
Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada / Press Trust of India
Rubbing shoulders with its counterparts from the US and the NATO in one of the most modern war games, the Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to move rapidly towards developing network centric warfare (NCW) capability in the next few years.
Su-30 MKI supersonic fighter jets, IL-76 heavylift transport aircraft and IL-78 air-to-air refuellers of the IAF are pitted against the NATO F-16s and F-15s in the network-centric operations--the toughest test for flying machines and men--over the Nevada desert in their first appearance in the fortnight-long peace-time air exercise, 'Red Flag' currently in progress.
Being the world's most advanced exercise, 'Red Flag' provides participating air forces the best opportunity to test their mettle in a simulated war game that envisages all air battle scenarios in a network-centric environment.
"NCW is vital. You cannot survive today for long against a good adversary without the NCW capability," said IAF vice chief Air Marshal P V Naik, who was here to witness the IAF participation in 'Red Flag'.
He said the Indian armed forces will have this capability by 2010-2011. "At present we do not have it, we are just about network-enabled. But we are in the process of developing this capability."
The backbone of the IAF's NCW system would be a fibre optic-based network called Air Force Network (AFNET), on which would be riding the Integrated Air Command and Control Systems (IACCS), Naik said.
IACCS will provide connectivity for all the airborne platforms and ground platforms as part of IAF's network centricity.
"Network centricity involves linking ground, air, and space assets together so as to have complete situational awareness," Naik said, explaining the concept.
Pioneered by the United States Department of Defence, NCW relies on computer processing power and networking communications technology to provide shared information of the battle space among armed forces.
This shared awareness increases synergy for command and control, resulting in superior decision- making, and the ability to coordinate complex military operations over long distances for an overwhelming war-fighting advantage.
Top US armed forces official, Lt Gen Loyd Utterback, who addressed the IAF team during the exercise, said he had been planning to have the Indian team in 'Red Flag' for long and that it materialised only now.
Gen Utterback said the US air force and the IAF together formed an incredible team for peace and security. "I am looking forward to work with you (IAF) more," he added.
The IAF vice chief said participating in the 'Red Flag' exercise was every pilots' dream and it helped them to fly away from the home environment with various other types of aircraft.
"It is a dense flying environment with large force engagements. It has only been three or four days of flying in the exercise but we are on track to achieve the goals we had set for the IAF before coming for Red Flag exercise," Naik said replying to a query.
Talking about the IAF's efforts to get its network-centricity in place, Naik said the integration of the Operational Data Link (ODL) on the airborne platforms of IAF would complete the chain of the IACCS.
"Basically we are looking for a three-tier net—the ground network, the space network and the airborne network," he said.
In the space network, there would be satellites for the armed forces, while the Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AEWACS), acquired newly from Israel, would for the link between the space assets and the airborne assets in IAF's network centricity.
"This (space assets networking) is going to happen very soon," he said, adding AEWACS would be joining the IAF fleet by the end of this year.
The first of the three AEWACS from Israel is scheduled to arrive in India by October this year and the other two would join the force in 2009.
"After all this, the Air Force Net should become operational by December this year and the IACCS by 2011," Naik added.
In fact, IAF was the first of the tri-services to ask for an Aerospace Command and for integrating the space assets towards acquiring a star wars capability. It also went ahead and established a new branch in its headquarters for looking after the space operations under a two-star Air Officer.
As recently as in June this year, the Indian government also announced the formation of an Integrated Space Cell, as a precursor to the establishment of an Aerospace Command, that would integrate India's space assets for military operations by the tri-services.
With India's strategic interests expanding beyond its land and sea borders, Naik said it was only in its interest for the IAF to test its capabilities in far away locations and varied environments.
"We want to check whether we are capable of projecting power over that kind of distances if not more," Naik said.
"Secondly, we want to test our logistic and administrative abilities to support such a large number of people so far away from home, without much difficulty.
"In addition, the IAF also wanted to check whether its personnel are capable of operating in varied environments without much loss of effectiveness," Naik added.
Noting that IAF had so far had no problems vis-a-vis its operations or capabilities, the Vice Chief of Air Staff said with India becoming a global player, it was important to test "how good are we in large force engagements against different types of aircraft other than those we own in India."
He added, "it is every fighter pilot's dream to participate in the Red Flag.
It helps you fly in a different environment, fly large force engagements which can be debriefed, picturised in a much better manner here than anywhere else and helps you fly in an environment of different kind of aircrafts than what you are used to.
"I was talking to our transport pilots and very rarely do they get a chance to fly in such a dense environment, so these have been some of the major gains of this Red Flag exercise," he said.
Pointing out that it was very costly--IAF has spent over Rs 100 crore--to participate in 'Red Flag', Naik said he did not think IAF will take part in another 'Red Flag' for another four to five years.
"As a policy, IAF carries out major exercises abroad once in four to five years," he added.
When asked if there were reciprocal exercises planned in India, the vice chief said there were some joint exercises planned between the two countries, but none at the 'Red Flag' scale.
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India: Air Force launches $1B datalink effort
Bibliographic details 2006, VOL 21; NUMB 46, pages 14-14