19 AW tests new C-130J communication capabilities

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Cullen Drenkhahn
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Airlift Wing achieved a significant milestone in enhancing its aircraft's communication capabilities with the first successful testing of a cutting-edge satellite communication suite during a maximum endurance mission at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Feb. 1, 2024.

The coordination and installation of the new and innovative platform was led by Master Sgt. Josh Jorgensen and Staff Sgt. Liam Pousson-Moss from the 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. It includes a hatch-mounted satellite antenna, antenna controller, router, and Executive Communications Kit. 

Once the device was in place, Master Sgt. Nicholas Fitzgerald and Senior Airman Ira Kasofsky from the 19th Communications Squadron used their expertise to connect the system to non-secure and secret networks providing “enroute satellite communications” during flight.

"This platform enables global command and control, providing our crew with unparalleled situational awareness," remarked Col. Denny Davies, 19th Airlift Wing and installation commander. "It makes the mighty Herk much more resilient and capable in the vastness of the Pacific, reinforcing the Air Force's core tenant of distributed control."

The integration of this communication suite not only enhances the aircraft's operational effectiveness but aligns with the Air Force's commitment to agile operations.

“The system performed flawlessly allowing us to receive real time flight plan and mission changes in the air," noted Capt. Aaron Stolze, 41st Airlift Squadron pilot, who oversaw the testing process. “This technology has the potential to save lives when used for Aeromedical Evacuation, further underscoring its importance in supporting mission-critical tasks."

The successful flight test conducted during Exercise Gnarly Explodeo validated the system's performance under rigorous conditions, affirming its reliability and effectiveness in enhancing the C-130J's communication capabilities and serves as a solution to meet the commander of Air Mobility Command, Gen. Mike Minihan’s, intent to have 25% of his fleet connected by 2025.

"As we look to the future, this communication suite will play a vital role in bolstering our capabilities across a wide range of missions," emphasized Stolze. "Whether it's providing critical support during humanitarian operations or facilitating rapid response in contingency situations, this advancement represents a significant leap forward for our fleet."

With its ability to maintain constant connectivity and provide real-time data transmission, the satellite communication suite reinforces the Air Force's commitment to staying ahead of emerging threats and adapting to evolving operational requirements.

"As we navigate an increasingly complex and dynamic global security environment, investments in technologies like this communication suite are essential to ensuring our readiness and lethality," concluded Davies. "With the 19th Airlift Wing leading the charge, we are well-positioned to meet the challenges of tomorrow and continue delivering decisive airpower whenever and wherever it's needed most in order to win."