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22 May 15. Boeing successfully returns USAF’s E-4B aircraft into operational service. The US Air Force’s (USAF) E-4B advanced airborne command post has successfully returned to operational service following the completion of its maintenance at Boeing’s San Antonio site.
US Air Force E-4B Section chief Joseph Stupic said, “The E-4B fleet is an essential element of our nation’s defence. Boeing’s ability to return this aircraft to service, ahead of schedule, benefits the men and women who serve on them as well as the citizens they protect.”
The maintenance services were performed as part of a contract awarded to Boeing to maintain the readiness of the aircraft’s systems, bringing each aircraft in for service every four years.
The USAF launched the E-4 programme in 1974 and since then Boeing has been actively supporting the aircraft fleet. E-4B is built by Boeing along with support from the USAF. Its design is based on the Boeing 747-200 commercial airplane. The aircraft primarily serves as an airborne command post for control of US Forces in all levels of conflict under the direction of the US President, Secretary of Defence and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. At Boeing’s San Antonio site, the other aircraft that undergo maintenance services include the USAF’s C-17 Globemaster III airlifters and KC-135 aerial refuelling tankers and commercial aircraft.
The aircraft is an enhanced version of the E-4A. It is capable of flying at high altitudes and can be refuelled midflight. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
22 May 15. RAAF equips C-17A Globemaster with new Satcom and imagery display system. 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 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. (Source: airforce-technology.com)