U.S. Army paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division, wait for takeoff in an Air Force C-17 aircraft. The Army’s new Enroute Mission Command Capability will soon provide in-flight internet and mission command capabilities to elements of the 82nd Airborne Division that respond as part of the joint Global Response Force. (Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Army)
Communications en route to overseas objectives are due for an upgrade, courtesy of the Warfighter Information Network – Tactical program. November is the target date for initial operating capability for en route mission command capabilities.
The goal is to enable voice, data, full-motion video, email and other capabilities aboard planes on long flights, said LTC Joel Babbitt, product manager for WIN-T Increment 1.
“There’s going to be a robust communications capability there for the airborne task force commander. That is a transformative sort of capability,” he said. “As we go from that to full operational capability, we’re going from one plane having that to seven planes having that.”
The overall goal is to make forces effective as soon as they are on the ground, he said.
“The old way of doing it is, you get on a plane, you get all kitted up with your equipment to jump, you’re enroute to an objective area, and it can be quite far, typically 12 to 16 hours to get overseas,” he said.
While in transit, voice radio is usually the only communications means available, he said.
“So you would get on the plane, sleep, arrive, make your plans and then execute. That planning piece takes hours to get right. Our objective is (to make it so that) you get on the plane, you do your planning, and then you arrive and execute immediately.”
See video of Babbitt’s remarks, and others from our WIN-T PM Video Roundtable, here.