The U.S. Air Force will invest some $282 million in its program over the next 10 years, according to Forecast International projections.
Under this program, the USAF researches and develops tactical datalink technologies for ground and air platforms. Accordingly, the service’s need for such technologies is driving this projected investment. In FY16, Project 5262, a part of the overall program, is expected to support development of the 5th to 4th Generation Gateway project, which facilitates the sharing of 5th Generation track data with 4th Generation aircraft.
Employing tactical datalinks in a joint environment requires the integration of datalink terminals (e.g., the Multifunctional Information Distribution System) into host platforms and the implementation of interoperable datalink networks across all deployed joint and allied platforms. The Tactical Data Networks Enterprise program conducts this work.
Given the importance of communications capabilities in a combat environment, Forecast International expects the program to be funded beyond the next 10 years. However, the U.S. government’s budget sequestration may affect funding for the Tactical Data Networks Enterprise program, as well as other government programs.