Honeywell was selected to provide the JetWave satellite communications for 70 C-17 aircraft as a part of the Fixed Installation Satellite Antenna program for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
The beyond-line-of-sight communications system will support and improve the en route communication capabilities for the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. JetWave’s Ka-band hardware and Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite network combine to deliver the extensive coverage for the command-and-control link, including over water, on nontraditional flight paths and in remote areas.
“Honeywell is driving the era of the Connected Aircraft for military operators, and broadband connectivity anywhere on the globe is now a mission-critical requirement in the modern battlespace,” said Steven Williams, vice president, Defense Americas, Honeywell Aerospace. “The United States military has been at the forefront of connectivity technologies. JetWave supports real-time situational awareness for the aircrew, soldiers on board, and ground-based command leadership, ultimately enabling better decision-making and enhancing safety.”
Honeywell says its JetWave satellite communications system allows users to connect to the Inmarsat Global Xpress network, which delivers Ka-band satellite coverage around the globe. This provides real-time weather, video conferencing, large file transfer, encryption capabilities, in-flight briefings, intelligence surveillance reconnaissance video and secure communications. It has broadband-class connectivity comparable with typical speeds in the home or office. This allows aircraft in transit to be linked with command elements and forces anywhere in the world. The result is improved situational awareness and the ability to assess and adjust to the battlefield environment, en route and in real time.
“The system’s reliable connection allows the aircraft to transform into a mobile communication hub en route to the battlefield, even in high-traffic areas,” said Steve Hadden, senior director, Defense Connectivity, Honeywell Aerospace. “JetWave has the bandwidth to support multiple users communicating and sharing sensor data to ensure mission-critical information can be transmitted at every step of the mission.”
The C-17 Globemaster III is critical for airlift capability, delivering troops and cargo to bases in any environment. JetWave provides the DoD’s C-17 aircraft with global, seamless, high-data-rate communications while travelling to overseas locations. The system’s interoperability and real-time updates enable the DoD aircraft to remain in continuous communication with ground elements as they deploy.
Honeywell reached a similar agreement in 2017 with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to provide a fuselage-mount antenna on a C-130J Hercules military transport aircraft. That agreement was expanded in April 2019 as the RAAF announced plans to include JetWave on five additional Hercules aircraft. These planes are frequently used to deliver disaster relief in Australia and the Pacific region. JetWave successfully demonstrated on the first C-130J its ability to use several secure military applications that previous technology couldn’t enable due to bandwidth restrictions, including live video streaming and encrypted file transfer.
The initial order of 10 JetWave systems will be delivered to the U.S. DoD by June 2019, and the overall program runs through 2021. Booz Allen Hamilton is the primary contractor on the project.