USAF Trials Tactical Airborne SATCOM

The SD/R4i TRASC BLOS solution from SD Government facilitated secure command and control data communications, defense applications, and intelligence updates, whilst aboard a C-130J-30 Hercules in a 26-hour 20-minute mission By William Mackenzie / 16 Apr 2024
U.S Air Force Trials Tactical Airborne SATCOM
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In a mission 26-hour 20-minute mission, SD Government (SDG) and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) have successfully tested the Roll-on/Roll-off (RO/RO) Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) Satellite Communications (SATCOM) capability of the SD/R4i Tactical Removable Airborne Satellite Communications (TRASC) BLOS solution.

Following the intense validation flight aboard a Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules, the SD/R4i TRASC BLOS solution is now fully available for U.S. Air Force use.

The SD/R4i TRASC BLOS Solution

Developed with Florida-based R4 Integration, Inc. (R4i), the SD/R4i TRASC BLOS communications solution integrates the SD Plane Simple® Ku-band terminal within a Multi-Purpose Hatch System (MPHS) designed to replace the existing C-130 standard upper forward or center fuselage hatches.

The turnkey solution mounts the SD Plane Simple® antenna in the MPHS. It includes a compact RO/RO BaseBand kit that integrates a secure enclave, modem, Link-16, airborne router, and power supply. The stand-alone system only requires AC or DC power from the aircraft to operate and distribute real-time BLOS connectivity.

The equipment connects with the Intelsat FlexAir service, which employs an optimized high-throughput global satellite network to deliver dedicated airtime to government users.

The Maximum Endurance Mission

The SDG team assisted U.S. Air Force maintainers as they installed the system on a 41st Airlift Squadron, 19th Airlift Wing C-130J, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

Performed as part of Exercise Gnarly Explodeo, the maximum endurance mission recorded 100% reliability and availability from the TRASC system as it facilitated secure command and control data communications, defense applications, intelligence updates, electronic flight bags, video conferencing, voice over internet and WiFi calls whilst airborne. 

SDG state that its SD/R4i TRASC system supports the commander of Air Mobility Command (AMC), General Mike Minihan, in achieving his intention to have 25% of the AMC fleet connected by 2025.

Hayden Olson, Head of SD Government, stated; “SD prides itself on rigorously testing all our equipment before we put it into service. The success of this endurance flight exemplifies the power of our advanced technology and its versatility in delivering new capabilities to our forces.

We are proud to add this connectivity solution to our growing military portfolio and look forward to supporting the system as it enters into service. We are already receiving requests for demonstrations of the capabilities of the equipment to USAF representatives, such is the interest in the system.”

After the mission, Colonel Denny Davies, 19th Airlift Wing and Little Rock commander, added; “This platform enables global command and control, providing our crew with unparalleled situational awareness. It makes the C-130 much more resilient and capable in the vastness of the Pacific, reinforcing the Air Force’s core tenant of distributed control.”

Posted by William Mackenzie Connect & Contact