What is BATS-D?

Viasat's Government Systems division provides U.S. and coalition military forces with a range of advanced communications technology. Here's a quick description of one of them: BATS-D

BATS-D provides dismounted personnel with a ground-to-air capability to shorten the targeting cycles and accuracy of close air support and other fire missions.

Warfighters operating at the tactical edge are able to access Link 16 networks using Viasat’s Battlefield Awareness & Targeting System-Dismounted (BATS-D) or AN/PRC-161 radio. It’s the world’s only handheld Link 16-capable radio, designed to bridge the gap between air and ground forces.

BATS-D provides dismounted personnel — including Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs), Forward Air Controllers (FACs) and Tactical Air Control Parties (TACPs) — with a ground-to-air capability to shorten the targeting cycles and accuracy of close air support and other fire missions.

BATS-D image

The BATS-D radio

Warfighters on the ground and in the air benefit from enhanced situational awareness of the battlespace at the tactical edge through the AN/PRC-161 BATS-D’s integrated air/ground Common Operating Picture (COP), which displays friendly and enemy force positions, objects of interest as well as secure targeting and Position, Location, Identification (PLI) data.

Capable of achieving data rates between 115 Kbps and 1.1 Mbps, the BATS-D also offers a J-Voice capability, which allows the warfighter to communicate directly with other Link 16 users operating in the network.

BATS-D is typically operated in a fully tethered mode with either an Android-based End User Device (EUD) ensemble attached via USB or with Ethernet to a Windows laptop device.

To date, Viasat has delivered roughly 3,000 BATS-D software-defined radios to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Warfighters are also set to benefit from a Beyond-Line-of-Sight capability for BATS-D expected to be enabled by Viasat’s XVI Link 16 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite, due to begin evaluation with the DoD in late 2021.

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Alex Miller
Alex Miller is the editor of the Viasat corporate blog. A veteran newspaper reporter and editor, Alex has been with Viasat since 2012, working out of the company's Denver office.

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