Remote Ground Radar Keeps AOR Personnel Safe

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Michael Matkin
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
 Danger is ever present in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. In Southwest Asia, there is a squadron dedicated to keeping Airmen safe by providing a complete snapshot of the battlespace.

The more than 100 personnel from the 71st Expeditionary Air Control Squadron keep U.S. and coalition forces safe from hostile aircraft using the BattleSpace Command and Control Center system. This system allows its users to pull real-time data from coalition members' sensor systems around the AOR giving this team a view of the entire region.

"It gives us eyes and ears across Southwest Asia, bringing data links from other sources and the control of unsafe airspace remotely from a distant location; this is new ground and has never been done before," said Chief Master Sgt. Teddy Ostrowski, the 71st EACS maintenance supervisor, who is deployed from the 128th Air Control Squadron at Volk Field, Wis.

This data link allows the 71st EACS Airmen time to react to the threats and provide vital information that recognizes hostile aircraft. It also gives us time to react, said Lt. Col. Darren Ewing, the 71st EACS commander.  "The 71st EACS handles basic air battle management in a very busy airspace," Colonel Ewing said. "Our equipment allows us to correlate mini-data sensors and radios and has linking capabilities; it can manage a vastly larger air space. This allows us to operate here in a safe environment, reducing the need for a forward control and reporting center footprint in our area of responsibility."

In addition, the center also allows cross-platform, cross-service and cross-coalition enhancement for a battle space picture that we have not had in the past, the colonel said.  This enhanced battle space picture is a result of the BC3's better integrated sensors that can handle more radar and radio sources than previous systems. The interface and ability to display and use the data off those systems allows the 71st EACS operators to handle more information, as well as increase the ability to pass along that information, said Chief Ostrowski, a native of Tomah, Wis.

The BC3 is a commercial off-the-shelf product and is produced by more than one company so, if it breaks, another piece can be bought quickly, said Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Pradarelli, the 71st EACS ground radar systems technician NCO in charge and a
Guard member deployed from the 128th ACS."Due to this ease of maintenance, we can continually maintain a 100 percent battlespace picture of the AOR," said the native of Greenfield, Wis.

Running the BC3 system, which keeps U.S. and coalition members safe, is a primary responsibility for the members of the 71st EACS as they work day and night to keep servicemembers throughout the region safe from hostile aircraft.