Multi-Link System Test and Training Tool (MLST3)

The Multi-Link System Test and Training Tool (MLST3) generates simulated tactical scenarios to stimulate data link networks for testing. MLST3 is used by the Navy, Air Force and joint testing organizations to test conformance with tactical data link standards and interoperability certification requirements. MLST3 is deployed throughout the world as a leader in data link testing, contributing to multination interoperability.

The MLST3 generates a flexible interactive environment to run pre-scripted scenarios or manually inserted events. The pre-scripting ensures desired capabilities are all tested, while manual insertions allow flexibility during training or development investigation. To support these capabilities, MLST3 operates in three modes: Pre-Test Application, Real-Time Application and Post-Test Analysis.

Pre-Test Application

Analysts use the MLST3 scenariodeveloper program to build reusable scenarios for real-time testing. The scenario files define tactical exercises in complete environments. Among the file’s many capabilities is simulating tracks, Link 11A participating units, Link 11B reporting units, Link 22 NILE units and Link 16 units. Scripted analysis report files present logical information about the exercise scenario, viewed from aspects such as time, track history and errors. The graphic user interface simplifies exercise development by enabling users to create tracks manually.

Real-Time Application

During real-time tests, the MLST3 injects scripted scenarios into the system under test. An Automatic Data Analysis Tool allows operators to analyze a single Link 16 unit in real time. Dual message monitor windows show all messages exchanged and are configurable by the operator to display selected information. Concurrently, the tactical situation display provides tactical data systems symbology and data readouts for selected tracks. Operators can conduct tests without scenarios by entering data online and controlling the content and reporting of information in real time.

Post-Test Analysis

The MLST3 records all data exchanged, including messages, scenario data, operator commands and system alerts. Data reduction programs analyze data in readable text, octal and binary format. The Automatic Data Analysis Tool enables the MLST3 to automatically analyze Link 16 data. Processed data can be displayed at a workstation, printed, and stored to disk.

MLST3 User Interface

To facilitate testing, the MLST3 Test Control User Interface features the look and feel of conventional Windows™ interfaces. Operators use dynamic, menuselectable displays to control the system during testing. The Message Monitor Display shows all transmitted and received tactical messages, as well as scenario and operator-initiated events. The Tactical Situation Display depicts filterable track symbology with background geopolitical maps scalable from global to one square mile.

Extended Capabilities

MLST3 can be networked for distributed testing and training using Northrop Grumman’s Gateway Manager. The Gateway Manager enables the use of geographically distributed networks for communications transport using the Standard Interface for Multiple Platform Link Evaluation (SIMPLE) protocol and other protocols used to communicate with legacy test equipment over commercial telephone lines or the Internet. To achieve a wraparound, closed loop test configuration for system integration and qualification, the MLST3 also communicates with Northrop Grumman’s Distributed Simulation Stimulation System (DS3), which adds a powerful sensorsimulation capability.

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