The RAAF is set to roll out high-speed communications systems across another five of its C-130J Hercules transport aircraft.
The Honeywell Ka-Band Satellite Communications (SATCOM) system provides broadband internet connectivity for crew and passengers. One Hercules was already fitted with this system in 2017, and fitment of this system to an additional five C-130J Hercules airframes will commence this year. The system allows for streaming of high-definition video as well as supporting complex mission planning whilst the aircraft is in flight.
The RAAF’s fleet of 12 C-130J Hercules already carry L-Band SATCOM, which permits global voice communications and data transfer. According to Defence, the Ka-Band system will complement current satellite transfer rates and enable communications across a broader spectrum of flight conditions.
Air Commodore William Kourelakos, Commander of RAAF Air Mobility Group, said the system will improve Defence’s ability to respond to a crisis.
“Our Hercules crews and passengers are often first on the scene in times of crisis, and require timely information at their destination,” Air Commodore Kourelakos said.
“Already, we’ve demonstrated the utility of this system on one Hercules, streaming video from missions in the Pacific and allowing basic Command and Control functions to be carried out from the aircraft.”
The installation of Honeywell Ka-Band SATCOM antennas will occur during scheduled maintenance works by Airbus Australia Pacific at RAAF Base Richmond, with fitment on the additional five aircraft to be completed by 2022.
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