Aircraft's full potential unleashed

11 December 2023

The first KC-30A Multi-Role Transport Tanker to receive a significant communications and cyber upgrade returned home from Spain in November.

Its secure high frequency and very high frequency radios, encryption device, and tactical data link were enhanced under the Crypto Remediation Project (CRP).

These improvements aim to provide safer and more efficient communication, and improve command, control and situational awareness.

Additionally, upgrades will increase KC-30A data throughput by 300 per cent.

Officer Commanding 86 Wing Group Captain Brent Taylor described the boost in combat air mobility capability this represented.

“The modernisation and system upgrades will ensure the RAAF KC-30A fleet can better integrate with other Defence aircraft and those of our coalition partner forces,” Group Captain Taylor said.

The two-year process was led by the Heavy Airlift Systems Program Office (HALSPO).

According to Noorin Popat, director of the HALSPO Project Management Unit, the project harnessed expertise and skills across the KC-30A enterprise.

“Success required effective collaboration between HALSPO, other Air Force agencies, Airbus Defence and Space, Northrop Grumman Australia, CAE and others,” Mrs Popat said.

“CRP has delivered on the Defence Strategic Review’s directive of ‘speed to capability’.”

Officer Commanding HALSPO Group Captain Russell Barton said the biggest challenge the project overcame was integrating and adapting US technology to a European platform.

“CRP has leveraged HALSPO's long-standing industry partnerships and ensures the capability is relevant, reliable and state-of-the-art to stand the test of time,” he said.

“I’m proud of the feat of acquisition CRP has accomplished.”

The remainder of the RAAF KC-30A fleet is scheduled to receive the upgrades by 2025, with the modifications being undertaken by Northrop Grumman Australia in Brisbane.



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