Crew members manning the Royal Air Force CH-47 Chinook helicopters as part of UK’s Operation Newcombe in Mali have been equipped with Inzpire’s GEKO beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) tablet-based mission system.
In 2018, A team of about 100 personnel in Mali has received three CH-147F Chinook heavy lift transport helicopter from the RCAF 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (THS) and up to seven CH-146 Griffon tactical transport helicopter from the 508 THS which were pledged to the UN mission
According to Inzpire, the GECO (Air) is a full touchscreen avionic, mission and training solution which has the capability to act as an additional cockpit MFD (Multi-Functional Display), either in stand alone mode or integrated with the aircraft.
This capability was incorporate as a result of the need for increased situational awareness, safety and mission effectiveness.
Using satellite communication, Geko enables users to communicate over long distances from virtually anywhere in the world using the Inzpire’s tablet-based electronic flight bag.
For instant messaging, a 4G GSM network is available for use during training where a suitable network exists.
Also, default messages are stored on the system to speed up the sending of routine messages, while during emergencies, stored messages can instantly generate alerts and responses.
To enhance awareness during missions, the BLOS capability also provides the crew with real-time location of allied assets both airborne and on the ground. Although, in sensitive combat operations, the location sharing options can be turned off.
Presently, the Geko is also used by RAF Chinook crews supporting France’s Operation Barkhane in logistics and passenger transport as well as keeping people off roads where there is an EID threat.
GECO allows crews to visualise the assault track and final mile to the landing site. It also allows them to talk through overshoot plans, re-attacks and factor threats.
Regarding the challenges faced in Mali, Flt Lt Rob Town noted that “most of the FOBs are 150-180km away and fuel is limited. Weather is changeable with dust storms, thunderstorms and torrential rain. Communications ore difficult due to the sheer size of the operations area. The use of Arctic flying techniques in the desert was required. BLOS allowed us to communicate back to base so oncoming crews were fully prepared and read in the weather before they launched.”ost of the FOBs are 150-180km away and fuel is limited. Weather is changeable with dust storms, thunderstorms and torrential rain. Communications ore difficult due to the sheer size of the operations area. The use of Arctic flying techniques in the desert was required. BLOS allowed us to communicate back to base so oncoming crews were fully prepared and read in the weather before they launched.”