National Standards


The UK has always been at the forefront of ensuring Interoperability (IO) between data link platforms through the development of national Tactical Data Link (TDL) specifications.


The concept of the Single Link Interface Requirements Specification (SLIRS) was developed in the UK to give in-depth guidance to the implementers of a specific TDL capability.  This concept has been validated by both NATO and the USA, particularly for Link 16 where the SLIRS requirements have been incorporated into both the NATO and the USA standards documents (STANAG 5516 Edition 6 and MIL-STD-6016C Ch1).


SyntheSys developed the UK's SLIRS and supporting documents to assist national acquisition of the Variable Message Format (VMF) TDL capability.


As an emerging data link capability, Variable Message Format (VMF) was ideally positioned to benefit from the use of coherent national standards from the very beginning of its consideration by the UK.  We developed and maintained the UK national standards for VMF from its inception as a UK capability.  Our work includes the provision and maintenance of the VMF SLIRS which provides the specification guidance necessary for the correct implementation of VMF message and the mandated header. The UK VMF SLIRS provides a transactional approach to a VMF message implementation and allows rigour and discipline to be applied for both message and header implementation specification.
Unique to VMF, we have created a Bearer Definition Document (BDD).  The BDD provides UK platform requirements for the correct implementation of VMF bearer protocols, which are themselves vital to ensure VMF data exchange is achieved.  This critical area is often overlooked in favour of the more familiar message and header environment.
The development of the UK VMF standards has benefited from the lessons learned during the UK’s implementation of Link 16 systems.  IO is built in with individual platform implementations being a subset of whole system requirements.  Reducing the potential for bespoke implementations coupled with improved IO management tools will result in the UK’s VMF capability providing a step improvement on previous TDL implementations.