Home Aerospace And Defense Tactical Data Link Market Size, Share and Forecast to 2031

Tactical Data Link Market

Tactical Data Link Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Solution (Hardware, Software), By Data Link Type (Link 11, Link 16, Link 22, Others), By Platform (Air, Ground, Sea, Unarmed Systems, Weapon), By Applications (Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Electronic Warfare, Radio Communication, Situational Awareness) and By Region(North America, Europe, APAC, Middle East and Africa, LATAM) Forecasts, 2023-2031

Report Code: SRAD55689DR
Study Period 2019-2031 CAGR 5.2%
Historical Period 2019-2021 Forecast Period 2023-2031
Base Year 2022 Base Year Market Size USD 7.7 Billion
Forecast Year 2031 Forecast Year Market Size USD 12.15 Billion
Largest Market North America Fastest Growing Market Europe
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Market Overview

The global tactical data link market size was valued at USD 7.7 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 12.15 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 5.2% during the forecast period (2023–2031). The global tactical data link market is primarily driven by the surging military modernization programs that aim to enhance communication technologies.

The growing geopolitical tensions led to a rise in political violence, which further compelled governments of several nations to enhance their defense capabilities, especially communication technologies, thereby boosting the global tactical data link market. Moreover, implementing strategic initiatives by prominent market participants to thrive in the market generates opportunities for market expansion.

A Tactical Data Link (TDL) is a communication link used by military platforms to exchange tactical data, such as targeting information, situational awareness, and command and control data. These data links enable interoperability and coordination among various military units, including aircraft, ships, ground forces, and other platforms. Tactical data links play a crucial role in modern warfare by facilitating the exchange of real-time information between different elements of a military force. This information can include target coordinates, sensor data, mission plans, and other relevant data that enhance military operations' overall effectiveness and coordination.

There are several types of tactical data links, and they are often standardized to ensure compatibility among different military systems. These links use communication protocols, frequencies, and data formats to ensure secure and efficient data exchange. The implementation of tactical data links enhances the military's ability to operate in a network-centric environment, allowing for faster decision-making and improved situational awareness on the battlefield.

Market Dynamics

Global Tactical Data Link Market Drivers:

Military Modernization Programs

Tactical Data Links (TDLs) are paramount in modern warfare because they facilitate instantaneous data transmission among diverse platforms, including aircraft, ground vehicles, and naval vessels. Numerous nations are currently allocating resources towards enhancing their military capabilities, encompassing the upgrade of communication technologies. For instance, in August 2023, at the 156th Defense Project Promotion Committee meeting, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) of South Korea decided to allocate an estimated sum of 595.68 million USD towards a comprehensive enhancement of the operational KSS-II Son Won-il class submarines.

Furthermore, an additional investment of 320.17 million USD will be allocated towards the Link-22 upgrade as part of the Maritime Tactical Data Link initiative. The objective of the Link-22 upgrade is to facilitate the transfer from the existing Link-11 system to the more sophisticated Link-22 system. Such initiatives to modernize military communication technologies augment global market growth.

Rising Geopolitical Tensions 

Due to escalating geopolitical tensions and a weakening of liberal democratic governance, terrorism and political violence risks are anticipated to rise. Similarly, the repercussions of chronic conflicts are emerging as one of the most prominent factors contributing to the intensification of political violence worldwide. In the recent past, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East witnessed the greatest number of terrorist and political violence incidents. Five countries accounted for over 75% of all deaths caused by terrorist activities in 2016, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Iraq had the largest increase in terrorism since 2015, with 2,800 more deaths than the previous year. Thus, most nations have initiated efforts to increase their military capabilities to combat terrorism and defend their borders from rising geopolitical competition. These trends are anticipated to drive the demand for enhanced defense capabilities. This includes investments in communication and data-sharing systems to ensure effective military response and coordination in times of conflict. Thus, the rising geopolitical tensions boost the global tactical data link market.

Global Tactical Data Link Market Restraint:

High Implementation Costs

The implementation of tactical data links frequently necessitates huge expenditures in hardware and software infrastructure. Budgetary constraints in some economies, such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Benin, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Peru, Chile, and others, may pose a challenge for governments and defense organizations, potentially impeding their capacity to adopt or enhance Tactical Data Link (TDL) systems.

For instance, in 2019, Malaysia allocated 40% less budget for the defense sector than the budget in 2018. Unstable economic conditions, political disputes, and low industrial output are the factors for low defense budgets in the economies. These economies cannot implement TDL owing to their high costs, thereby hampering the market expansion.

Global Tactical Data Link Market Opportunities:

Strategic Initiatives by Key Players

The key participants in the market are striving to enhance their market share by taking several initiatives like product development, mergers and acquisitions, and expansions, among others. For instance, in December 2022, Hanwha Systems announced that it would initiate the development of Link-22, which comprises tactical data connections currently being implemented by members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including the United States and the United Kingdom. Link-22 is designed to strengthen the combined operation capabilities of the United States and Korea in anticipation of future network-centric warfare (NCW).

Additionally, in January 2023, Viasat Inc., a prominent player in the field of satellite communications, recently finalized the transaction of its Link 16 Tactical Data Links (TDL) business to L3Harris Technologies for a cash consideration of approximately USD 1.96 billion. It is anticipated that Viasat will receive net proceeds of around USD 1.8 billion, accounting for predicted taxes, fees, and other expenses. Viasat's primary objective is to utilize the generated funds to decrease net debt and enhance liquidity. Such initiatives are expected to generate opportunities for market expansion.

Regional Analysis

North America Dominates the Global Market

Based on region, the global tactical data link market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.

North America is the most significant global tactical data link market shareholder and is expected to expand substantially during the forecast period. The primary factor contributing to the North American market's dominance is the United States' substantial defense budget, which surpasses that of other nations. In 2022, the United States allocated 877 billion U.S. dollars to its defense sector. This accounted for around 40% of the global military expenditure for that particular year, which was 2.2 trillion U.S. dollars. This constituted 3.5% of the United States' gross domestic product (GDP). Furthermore, the U.S. Congressional Budget Office projects that by 2033, defense expenditures will have increased to 1.1 trillion U.S. dollars. The market expansion is also bolstered by the augmentation of expenditures dedicated to developing sophisticated military security systems and the region's abundance of hardware and software developers.

Moreover, the United States is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), granting them access to various tactical data connection capabilities such as link 1, link 2, link 11, link 16, and link 22. In addition, there is an increase in spending on tactical data link systems by the U.S. government. For instance, in June 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awarded Data Link Solutions a contract worth USD 33.6 million to provide a Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS). Similarly, in August 2022, the U.S. Navy awarded BAE Systems a USD 42.6 million contract to manufacture seven Network Tactical Common Data Link (NTCDL) systems. The U.S. Navy can transmit and receive real-time intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data from many sources by utilizing NTCDL. It also facilitates the interchange of command and control information across multiple data links. Consequently, such factors are expected to propel the regional market growth.

In the Asia-Pacific region, rising geopolitical disputes and the increasing threat of terrorist attacks are the primary reasons for the growth of military and defense industries in the region. Growing geopolitical tensions within the Asia-Pacific region fueled by China's expansionist policy in the South China Sea and border disputes with India are expected to drive defense spending in the region, thereby boosting the demand for tactical data links over the forecast period. For instance, in 2020, the Indian government declared a record budget of USD 64.20 billion for defense spending, witnessing a year-on-year increase of 5.02%. 

Furthermore, the global market players are entering the regional market by providing their products to several regional nations to enhance their defense systems. For instance, in November 2023, an agreement was signed between Bellinger Systems Pty Ltd and Leonardo DRS (United States) to distribute Tactical Data Link technologies in Australia. Multiple recent contract awards to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for the delivery and integration of Link 22 Tactical Data Link (TDL) technologies are supported by the execution of this long-term agreement. The aforementioned deal will enable Bellinger Systems to acquire, incorporate, and maintain Leonardo DRS technology to enhance the efficiency and punctuality of delivering Link 22 and other Tactical Data Link (TDL) operational necessities for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). All these factors together contribute to the market growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Middle East and Africa market is predicted to grow moderately. The countries in this region are constantly striving to enhance their military and defense capabilities. For instance, the UAE's cumulative defense expenditures are anticipated to exceed USD 129 billion between 2024 and 2028 due to their strategic objective of modernizing their capabilities in the Middle East and capitalizing on global industry cooperation. Furthermore, in February 2023, EDGE made public its agreement to supply tactical communications and data-link solutions to the UAE Armed Forces under a contract valued at AED 4 billion. EDGE, one of the foremost advanced technology and defense organizations globally, will ensure dependable and secure communications across land, sea, and air. The contract, officially declared during the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX 2023), shall be carried out for four years. Such factors are expected to expedite regional market growth.

Report Scope

Report Metric Details
By Solution
  1. Hardware
  2. Software
By Data Link Type
  1. Link 11
  2. Link 16
  3. Link 22
  4. Others
By Platform
  1. Air
  2. Ground
  3. Sea
  4. Unarmed Systems
  5. Weapon
By Applications
  1. Command and Control
  2. Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)
  3. Electronic Warfare
  4. Radio Communication
  5. Situational Awareness
Company Profiles BAE Systems Curtiss-Wright Corporation Leonardo S.p.A Elbit Systems Ltd. General Dynamics Corporation Leidos Honeywell International Inc. L3Harris Technologies Inc. Raytheon Technologies Corporation Northrop Grumman Corporation Thales Group Viasat Inc.
Geographies Covered
North America U.S. Canada
Europe U.K. Germany France Spain Italy Russia Nordic Benelux Rest of Europe
APAC China Korea Japan India Australia Taiwan South East Asia Rest of Asia-Pacific
Middle East and Africa UAE Turkey Saudi Arabia South Africa Egypt Nigeria Rest of MEA
LATAM Brazil Mexico Argentina Chile Colombia Rest of LATAM
Report Coverage Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends
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Segmental Analysis

The global tactical data link market is segmented by solution, data link type, platform, and application.

Based on the solution, the global tactical data link market is bifurcated into hardware and software.

The growth of the software segment can be ascribed to the increasing utilization of sophisticated processing software by defense forces. Software components emphasize aspects related to communication and networking. Therefore, it guarantees the establishment of connections among diverse hardware components. It offers a comprehensive overview of systems and troops on the battlefield, facilitating the software sector's expansion within the projected timeframe. In January 2021, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) created software to establish communication between incompatible tactical radio data links by bridging numerous different radio networks. Such factors boost the segment growth.

Based on data link type, the global tactical data link market is divided into link 11, link 16, link 22, and others. 

A more advanced data link standard, Link 16, facilitates the near real-time information interchange. It is a nodeless, jam-resistant, and encrypted tactical digital data link network. The demand for Link 16 data links is surging worldwide. For instance, in January 2021, Viasat Inc., a renowned global communications company, disclosed its achievement of augmenting production run rates to exceed 200 units of Non-Developmental Item (NDI) Link 16 Next-Generation Tactical Data Links radios every month. This significant increase in production capacity has been undertaken in response to the growing demand and imminent orders from defense customers within and internationally. This is estimated to augment the segment growth.

Based on the platform, the global tactical data link market is segmented into air, ground, sea, unarmed systems, and weapons. 

Airborne tactical data links can facilitate extensive and long-distance communication, hence enabling the utilization of satellite-based services. Furthermore, the incorporation of tactical data link systems in airborne operations holds significant importance. This is because the employment of active radar sensors enables the tracking of aerial objects, hence facilitating precise range measurements and the acquisition of essential real-time data. Consequently, this adds to the growing market demand for air-based platforms.

Based on application, the global tactical data link market is divided into command and control, radio communication, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), electronic warfare, and situational awareness.

Tactical Data Links (TDLs) facilitate the exchange of real-time situational awareness data among various military systems, including aircraft, ships, and ground personnel. The provided data details allied and adversary military units' geographical positions, operational conditions, and strategic objectives. The transmission and reception of situational awareness data through radio communication facilitates the establishment of a collective operational depiction across several units.

Market Size By Solution

Market Size By Solution
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Recent Developments

    • May 2023- Taiwan announced it would acquire the Link 22 tactical data link systems from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
    • September 2023- The Air National Guard (ANG) awarded the Defense Solutions Division of Curtiss-Wright the contract to provide training and testing solutions for the Tactical Data Link (TDL) in support of the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) program of the Department of Defense (DoD).

    Top Key Players

    Tactical Data Link Market Share of Key Players

    Tactical Data Link Market Share of Key Players
    BAE Systems Curtiss-Wright Corporation Leonardo S.p.A Elbit Systems Ltd. General Dynamics Corporation Leidos Honeywell International Inc. L3Harris Technologies Inc. Raytheon Technologies Corporation Northrop Grumman Corporation Thales Group Viasat Inc. Others

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    How big is the tactical data link market?
    The global tactical data link market size was valued at USD 7.7 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 12.15 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 5.2% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
    Europe has the highest growth in the global market.
    Key verticals adopting the market include: BAE Systems, Curtiss-Wright Corporation, Leonardo S.p.A, Elbit Systems Ltd., General Dynamics Corporation, Leidos, Honeywell International Inc., L3Harris Technologies Inc., Raytheon Technologies Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Thales Group, Viasat Inc., and others.
    Military modernization programs and rising geopolitical tensions are the key driver for the growth of the global market.
    Strategic initiatives by key players is one of the upcoming key trends in the global market.

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