ViaSat has introduced a new handheld Link 16 radio that will allow dismounted US air and ground forces to engage enemy forces 20 times faster than using current radios in their inventory.
Using the new battlefield awareness and targeting system, dismounted (BATS-D) handheld Link 16 radio, a single dismounted operator could interact with incoming aircraft, digitally identify their location and designate enemy targets for air attack.
During a five-day exercise, several dismounted air controllers from a number of military organisations conducted training with close air support (CAS) aircraft using the BATS-D Link 16 handheld radio.
The exercise was conducted at Nellis Air Force Base, near Las Vegas, Nevada.
ViaSat government systems division executive vice-president and general manager Ken Peterman said: "Now, dismounted ground forces have access to the same digital common operational picture and situational awareness that aircraft and higher echelon units have had for years.
"This access will help prevent potential blue-on-blue engagements and increase the lethality of dismounted forces carrying the radio.
"The BATS-D handheld Link-16 device is comparable to introducing a smartphone where there were only desktop computers; it holds the potential to completely transform the battlespace. BATS-D is yet another example of ViaSat’s unique approach to serving the defence market by bringing innovative solutions to solve real warfighter problems that improve mission effectiveness."
Prior to the introduction of the BATS-D radio, dismounted military personnel required a series of voice communication exchanges, risking confusion or interception, and delaying support to forces under fire.
The troops can now quickly and efficiently communicate the position of the enemy and their own location, by interacting with CAS aircraft with the help of BATS-D radio.