The US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) has taken delivery of its first MC-130J Commando II, equipped with the Airborne Mission Networking (AbMN) secure communications suite.
The system – which was integrated into the platform by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) – improves interoperability between special operations platforms, along with other US- and/or coalition-operated aircraft.
According to SNC, the suite “improves interoperability by unifying data from various components that collectively make up a mission system.” This enables USAF operators to focus on one set of critical mission data rather than monitoring multiple systems at once.
The suite enhances the aircraft’s battlefield management and threat avoidance, generating customised surveillance information and situational awareness for air, ground and command and control nodes. It also features applications for mapping, data routing, video recording and playback, along with user interface control. On top of this, the AbMN suite also includes data link radios with ten combined subsystems, which are integrated with the aircraft’s existing equipment in an effort to reduce pilot workload.
Robert Horky, senior vice president of Business Development and Technology for SNC’s ISR, Aviation and Security (IAS) division, said: “Multi-domain command and control is a Defense Department top priority… With the AbMN-equipped MC-130J, we’re bringing that capability to the AFSOC community by providing enhanced communications and data links, and an integrated software suite.”
SNC concludes that the AbMN suite will bring AFSOC the “critical capabilities required to successfully replace the MC-130H while providing additional communications and situational awareness capabilities.” The company is currently modifying the service’s second MC-130J, which will also be integrated with the system.