Through Life Interoperability Planning (TULIP)

Overview
Through Life Interoperability Planning (TULIP) is a process that has been developed by Lockheed Martin UK - Integrated Systems & Solutions based on 16 years experience supporting Tactical Data Link integration programmes. TULIP is the only process that supports Tactical Data Link Interoperability throughout a platform’s lifecycle and its implementation is UK Defence Policy.

Why a Process is Needed
Experience has shown that existing multinational Tactical Data Link standards (such as STANAG 5516 for Link 16) can be ambiguous, non-specific and incomplete, and that adherence to these standards does not necessarily support high levels of interoperability. To overcome these problems, Standards and Tools have been developed and used together with proven Processes and Procedures to ensure that interoperability is designed into a Tactical Data Link platform’s implementation from the outset.
These Processes and Procedures are then applied throughout the platform’s life-cycle to monitor and maintain interoperability. TULIP brings together these Standards, Tools, Processes and Procedures into one comprehensive process that fully supports interoperability.

Why TULIP?
TULIP is now established as the de facto process for managing Tactical Data Link interoperability – the results speak for themselves. TULIP is now used on the majority of UK Tactical Data Link programmes, is also being exclusively used by the US Air Force and is under review for use by the US Navy, Marine Corps and Army.
Furthermore, Australia, Germany, Italy, the NATO ACCS Management Agency (NACMA), the NATO AEW Programme Management Agency (NAPMA), Spain and Switzerland recognise the benefits of TULIP and have adopted, or intend to adopt, the process or appropriate elements thereof.

The major benefits

  • TULIP has been proven to save money! Costly integration errors can be avoided through the use of a paper-based testing approach.
  • TULIP raises the initial level of interoperability between platforms and helps focus on areas requiring further investigation.
  • TULIP is inexpensive to implement and maintain even when compared with the most austere Tactical Data Link integration.