Rockwell Collins, RAAF demonstrate WBHF communications from ground to air


The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Rockwell Collins have successfully demonstrated of the first wideband high-frequency (WBHF) communications transfer from a ground to air.

Carried out as part of Plan Jericho, the demonstration saw the transfer of WBHF data from a ground station team located in Geelong, Australia, to a static RAAF C-17A Globemaster III military transport aircraft.       

Plan Jericho envisions the freedom of action in the air, space, electromagnetic and cyber domains required to deliver air power for Australia’s interests, in joint and combined operating environments.

The company worked in collaboration with the RAAF’s 36 Squadron and the team from Plan Jericho to start and conclude the complex data transfer.

Rockwell Collins Asia-Pacific vice-president and managing director Jim Walker said: “WBHF technology is the only modernised HF solution that will deliver net-centric, high-speed communications at costs that are in line with today’s tighter military budgets.

“This demonstration shows the operational gains available through close cooperation between industry and the RAAF under Plan Jericho.”

As part of the WBHF transmission demonstration, the ground station team located in Geelong, Australia, transmitted a wide range of data, including real-time chat, streaming video, file transfers and digital voice audio, to a static C-17A Globemaster III aircraft.

Air Force Plan Jericho group director captain Carl Newman said: “Being able to transfer secure data via the WBHF radio could provide greater operational resilience to the Australian Defence Force in the future, especially in satellite denied environments.

"This demonstration shows the operational gains available through close cooperation between industry and the RAAF under Plan Jericho."

“Whether it’s a real time conversation, streamed live video or the rapid transfer of large data files between an aviation platform, and support or command and control elements for a broad range of missions, this technology has the ability to deliver a true sovereign beyond line of sight communications capability for defence, and one that complements and hardens existing networks.”

The WBHF solution is highly reliable to be used for the transfer of information, including video, as well as complementary to traditional satellite communications (SATCOM) in restricted environments.

The WB technology uses the existing HF architecture to facilitate faster and more secure data transmission.


Image: Transmission of wideband high-frequency communications from ground to air. Photo: courtesy of Rockwell Collins.