Here for the Long-haul, Enriching C130 Communications

Here for the Long-haul, Enriching C130 Communications

US Air Force C-130 Hercules fleet

There are surprising similarities between business jet missions and those of the US Air Force C-130 Hercules fleet. Both must be available any time, often at short notice, to fly anywhere in the world on time-critical tasks into airports off regular commercial routes.

Robust, reliable global communications are essential to mission success and for a C-130 crew that includes non-secret and secret internet protocol router (NIPR and SIPR) access and Dynamic Re-tasking Capability (DRC), a system via which USAF C-17 and C-130 airlifters are rescheduled to different landing sites with the latest information.

Tactical Removeable Airborne Satellite Communications (TRASC)

The SD Government team is so proud of the Tactical Removeable Airborne Satellite Communications (TRASC) solution developed with R4 Integration, Inc. The system brings Roll-on/Roll-off (RO/RO) beyond-line-of-sight satellite communications to any C-130 airframe by integrating the SD Plane Simple® Ku-band terminal within a Multi-Purpose Hatch System (MPHS) designed and patented by R4 Inc. The MPHS is a like-for-like replacement for the existing C-130 standard upper forward or center fuselage hatches, optimized for installation in less than sixty minutes and enabling immediate plug-and-play global broadband capability through Intelsat’s FlexAir high-throughput global satellite network.

A fully managed, optimized Ku-band service, FlexAir delivers dedicated airtime to government users. Alongside secure voice communications, the system enables uninterrupted global broadband suitable for data-intense services, video streaming, enhanced avionics functionality, and aircraft health monitoring and reporting. FlexAir also supports integrated joint tactical information data link capability while spot beam technology, diversification, and advanced design mitigate interference.

Hatch Mount Ro/Ro Kit with Plane Simple Terminal Installed on U.S. Air Force C-130 and Completing a 26 Hour Endurance Test Mission

C-130 Plane Simple Hatch Mount AntennaFrom decades of experience serving business aviation and government customers, we know that delivering world-leading equipment and connectivity is only part of the story. We add real value by working closely with the customer through their connectivity journey, supporting them as they test our products every day.

For our government and defense customers, that support is mission-critical. That is why, in January, an SDG team joined US Air Force maintainers as they installed the TRASC system on a 41st Airlift Squadron, 19th Airlift Wing (AW) C-130J-30 at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

With the equipment installed, the C-130 departed Little Rock on what turned into a 26-hours and 20-minute endurance test mission as part of Exercise Gnarly Explodeo.

Although muted for fueling operations, the Plane Simple terminal otherwise achieved 100% availability throughout the mission, enabling NIPR, SIPR, and Mattermost (a chat utility) access, electronic flight bag updates, DRC, video conferencing, Wi-Fi calling, and general web browsing. Data consumed totaled 34.3GB received (Rx) and 1.3GB transmitted (Tx).

Peak utilization was noted at 23.16Mbps (Rx), 1.93Mbps (Tx). At the same time, average available data rates were 22.0Mbps (Rx) and 2.9Mbps (Tx), which were verified via periodic speed tests, including assessments with the aircraft banking at up to 25 degrees. Impressively the average latency was only 525ms.

SD Pro® Supporting the U.S. Air Force

The mission also enabled the SDG team to observe how the squadron employed SD Pro, the flight operations management system, in supporting flight. It also identified key areas where we can continue to evolve closer integration with other systems, notably Boeing Foreflight, the Puckboard crew scheduling app and Mattermost, which will allow SD Pro to contribute even more to mission success.

“This platform enables global command and control, providing our crew with unparalleled situational awareness, reinforcing the Air Force’s core tenant of distributed control.”
– Colonel Denny Davies, 19th AW and Little Rock base commander

Now fully confirmed for US Air Force use, the TRASC system is helping commander of US Air Force Air Mobility Command (AMC), General Mike Minihan, achieve his intention of having 25% of the AMC fleet connected by 2025.

We pride ourselves 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 even more users as they install the connectivity solution. We are committed to creating innovative solutions that make missions safer, more secure and more connected for all our customers.

Sign up for our Newsletter

CWC Mil/Gov Technical Summit

June 17 – 19, 2024