The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has demonstrated a suite of new capabilities on-board a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)’s C-17A Globemaster aircraft in Canberra.
The new capabilities included the provision of Wi-Fi internet access to portable defence-issued electronic devices.
The showcase of the new technologies is part of RAAF’s Plan Jericho, which is aimed at transforming Air Force and the wider ADF into a fighting force that capitalises on the high technology systems that are being introduced over the next few years.
Chief of Staff for Air Mobility Group Captain Stewart Dowrie said: "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.
"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."
The trial follows previous Plan Jericho capability demonstrations involving the C-17A, including the AirView 360 suite that offers the display of mission essential information to passengers within the aircraft.
Currently, RAAF operates a fleet of eight C-17As that are fitted with a satellite communications (SATCOM) capability.
In addition, two of these aircraft have been configured for broadband SATCOM in a bid to fit the whole fleet with a new, wideband SATCOM system from 2018.
Dowrie added: Our C-17A initiatives for Plan Jericho are capitalising on low-risk, proven technologies that can be delivered quickly with a high degree of confidence by our Industry partner.
"It is also charting a course for similar Plan Jericho initiatives on other air mobility platforms, notably the C-130J Hercules, C-27J Spartan, and KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport."
The C-17 Globemaster III is a military tactical transport aircraft, designed to perform the rapid strategic airlift of troops and cargo to main operating bases or forward operating bases worldwide.
Image: A C-17A Globemaster parked at Defence Establishment Fairbairn for a wireless communications demonstration. Photo: FSGT Kev Berriman / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.