This paper presents an overview of mobile mesh networking technology and broadband multimedia applications that can support mission-critical operations for network-centric tactical defense operations. Such broadband, autonomous, rapidly deployable, and secure networking and distributed applications provide survivable and reliable means of providing timely information to military forces to gain information superiority and support efficient mission execution. In this paper, first, the communications requirements for such highly dynamic battlefield environments are outlined. This is followed by an overview of the evolution of autonomous mobile mesh networking technology. The technical challenges that need to be addressed for providing broadband multimedia services on such autonomous mobile mesh networks are enumerated and discussed, based on the experience gained in designing and implementing such an integrated system. Finally, as an example, a product designed and implemented for public safety use, is described to highlight the potential of such an integrated solution for defense services. The software-based product comprises an integrated mobile mesh network and a set of distributed multimedia applications that include multicast video, location and tracking, white-boarding, and distributed interactive messaging.