Air Force demos on-board Wi-Fi
- 13 November, 2015 10:44
Todd Stibor, from L3 Mission Integration, demonstrates the new wireless capability being brought to the C-17A Globemaster. Image credit: FSGT Kev Berriman. © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.
The Air Force has demoed wireless networking for portable devices on board its C-17A Globemaster aircraft.
"This state-of-the-art technology allows passengers in the aircraft to receive live updates and video of their destination, right up to the point of their arrival," said Group Captain Stewart Dowrie, chief of staff for Air Mobility Group.
"Beforehand, crews and passengers were mostly limited to voice-only communications," Dowrie said in a statement.
"We can now fly an aero-medical evacuation team to the scene of a disaster, or an Army Combat Team into a warzone, and provide them with live updates and revised orders during their transit making them much more effective when they touch down.
"Likewise, a C-17A's passengers and crew can now be linked with Defence platforms and units on the ground or in the air, and share the live feeds of tactical information about their destination with each other."
At the start of the month the Air Force brought two additional Boeing C-17A Globemaster III aircraft into service, representing, along with associated equipment and facilities, a $1 billion investment.
The Air Force has a fleet of eight C-17As.
All of the air craft are fitted with satellite communications capability and two are fitted with broadband SATCOM. The Air Force intends to fit the entire C-17A fleet with a new, wideband SATCOM system from 2018.
The demonstration of on-board Internet access capabilities took place yesterday as part of a showcase for the Air Force's Plan Jericho program.
Plan Jericho was unveiled in February.
The tech upgrade program is an effort by the RAAF to “develop a future force that is agile and adaptive, fully immersed in the information age, and truly joint,” the Plan Jericho program of work (PDF) states.
Last month as part of Plan Jericho, Defence carried out tests of IP-based data transfer using Wideband High Frequency radio.
High quality still images and video were transmitted via WBHF.
According to Defence, WBHF can transmit data up to 10 times faster than current systems used by the Australian Defence Force.