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Paratroopers go digital: In-flight Internet gives airborne warriors more mission prep time

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

U.S. Army paratroopers now have one less opportunity to catch a power nap before missions. The Enroute Mission Command Capability (EMC2) will provide soldiers parachuting into warzones with in-flight Internet access to plan for missions up to the moment they hurl themselves out of planes.

"The ability to understand a situation gives you the ability to take appropriate action, and if the GRF can understand a situation before they get to their drop location, then they can be more effective from the moment boots hit the ground," Lt. Col. Joel Babbitt, product manager for Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T, Increment 1, told the Military.com's technology blog Defense Tech on May 9. WIN-T manages the new in-flight capability for the Army.

"Instead of landing on the ground, analyzing the situation and developing execution plans, they can hit the ground executing," he added. 

The new technology will feature "Internet service, mission command applications, full-motion video, intelligence products and collaborative planning tools along with computers and voice phones that can be used on aboard a C-17 aircraft," Defense Tech reported.

Once the system is tested successfully at multiple locations, Air Force C-17 pilots and the Army's 82nd Airborne Division will begin using it for real-world missions, Defense Tech reported. The Pentagon hopes to have the system up and running by the end of the year.

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