The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has equipped its C-17A Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft with a new advanced satellite communication (Satcom) and imagery display system for its crew and passengers.

During Jericho Dawn series of capability demonstrations in Canberra, the system was used to stream full motion video on large screens in the aircraft from a Heron remotely piloted unmanned aircraft system operating 2000km away over Woomera Test Range in South Australia.

The live stream from the Heron was being relayed in real-time through satellite to Distributed Ground Station Australia located at RAAF Edinburgh, where air intelligence analysts performed the processing, exploitation and dissemination of the live video through the defence computer network.

"The C-17A satellite communications and imagery display suite will provide a significant increase to the utility of the airlifter."

The system has been installed as part of Plan Jericho, which aims to transform RAAF and the wider Australian Defence Force (ADF) into a fighting force that capitalises on the high technology systems that are being introduced over the next few years.

Plan Jericho Director group captain Robert Chipman said the system is a good example of exploiting and connecting capabilities that are currently operated by the air force, army and navy.

Chipman said: "The networks and systems demonstrated in Canberra today allow passengers in the aircraft to receive live updates and video of their destination, such as enemy positions or disaster damaged areas, right up to the point of insertion.

"The systems may also provide utility in supporting other kinds of operations such as aeromedical evacuations by giving medical staff on board the ability to video conference with specialists on the ground."

The C-17A satellite communications and imagery display suite is designed for use in-flight. It will provide a significant increase to the utility of the airlifter by increasing the information available to passengers and crew in-flight.

Focusing on all aspects of ADF operations and support systems, command and control, training, simulation, organisational structure, trade groups, Plan Jericho seeks to ensure that the air force, army and navy jointly operate their new and current capabilities in the most effective manner.

Image: A C-17A Globemaster fitted with the new satellite communications and imagery display suite during Exercise Jericho Dawn at Defence Establishment Fairbairn in Canberra, Australia. Photo: courtesy of FSGT Kev Berriman/ © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.