Mobile communications innovation on Exercise Pitch Black

Hidden in the bush away from Exercise Pitch Black’s austere airbase at Batchelor, elements from Air Force’s No. 41 Wing were demonstrating a new concept in agile and adaptable Command and Control (C2).

The mobile command post they were operating from was the product of bottom up innovation with airmen-led design and construction spanning the last twelve months, supported by all four 41 Wing units and staff, under Air Force’s Plan Jericho.

Flight Sergeant Michael Ward, Tactical Development No. 41 Wing said it was a great example of what can be produced through the employment of existing equipment in innovative ways.

“It is a G-Wagon that has been outfitted with computers, tablets, radios, routers and network management devices for ‘on the go’ operations,” Flight Sergeant Ward said.

“We have created an agile platform with tactical data links, chat systems and re-broadcasting abilities.”

Its high mobility is a key factor to its success and supports Air Land Integration by bridging the air and land domains. This allows the soldier and the airmen to have situational awareness of the operating area through shared information and communications.

“The vehicle can easily be packed up to go when needed,” Flight Sergeant Ward said.

“It’s easy to transport and place in location to provide a Command and Control effect.”

“Once on the ground it can move where and when we want.”

Corporal Alex Weston, No. 3 Control and Reporting Unit said an important part of his role was experimenting with different capabilities to enhance decision making during Exercise Pitch Black.

“A big part of what we are doing at Pitch Black is demonstrating concepts to provide higher fidelity information within the battle space,” Corporal Weston said.

Corporal Weston was quick to point out that this Air Force capability was the result of team innovation, professional curiosity with high level guidance and broad freedom to experiment.

“It is a great capability that a number of people have been working on behind the scenes.”

Corporal Weston is optimistic about the future of this concept building towards AIR6500.

“The current configuration has exceeded all expectations and is something we hope Air Force and the ADF pick up for use in the future.”

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