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Archive for the ‘Air Force’ Category

Civil Air Patrol Awards $2.1 Million Contract to Persistent Systems to Supply AERONet system

Thursday, May 27th, 2021

Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network will connect emergency managers to remote rescue and disaster relief teams

For Release on March 30, 2021

NEW YORK– March 30, 2021 – Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”), an industry leader in mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) technology, announced today it has been awarded a $2.1 million contract to supply AERONet to Civil Air Patrol, the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.

Persistent will outfit nine aircraft, 21 dismounted ground units, six vehicles and three tactical operations centers with AERONet, or the Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network, an IP-based MANET capability that can facilitate:

• Disaster relief and emergency aid,

• Drug interdiction and other law enforcement missions,

• Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,

• Personnel recovery operations,

• Close air support, and

• Joint force and joint nation operations.

The contract follows multiple earlier ones that included AERONet equipment for five aircraft, three dismounted units, one vehicle and one tactical operations center, along with spares.

“With AERONet, Civil Air Patrol will be able to conduct disaster relief and emergency aid missions far more effectively,” said Adrien Robenhymer, Persistent’s VP of Business Development for Air Force and Intelligence Community Programs. “Teams that otherwise would have had to operate in isolation can now connect back to a tactical operations center and be guided by medical professionals.”

Separate AERONet enclaves can also be federated at a regional hub, so different organizations can better coordinate their activities and avoid working at cross-purposes, Robenhymer added.

The AERONet kit for a Civil Air Patrol aircraft includes two MPU5 tactical networking devices, each operating on separate radio frequency bands and using a different set of multiple-input and multiple output antennas, said Gabe Pagliere, Persistent Systems project engineer and lead on the company’s AERONet efforts.

“When the tactical operations center and deployed ground teams are not in range of each other, they can relay their communication through the AERONet equipment on the airplane,” Pagliere said. “This enables their communication to extend across long distances, over terrain and around obstructions.”

Persistent Systems successfully conducted an AERONet demonstration in August linking an aircraft to a tactical operations center and a beyond-line-sight unit on the ground. The link delivered a live video feed to simulate how medical doctors could provide remote assistance from anywhere in the world. The demonstration proved that robust network connectivity could save lives during a disaster relief effort.

“Following that, we completed our first AERONet integration with an international customer,” Robenhymer said, “and we are already supporting multiple domestic and international implementations of this capability.”

www.persistentsystems.com

Travis AFB Partnership Springs Air Force Forward with New Aerial Porter Exoskeleton

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) —

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and Air Mobility Command partnered with Arizona State University to develop the Aerial Port Exoskeleton, a new piece of equipment set to be used in an official capacity at Travis Air Force Base, May 17.

The Aerial Port Exoskeleton helps aerial porters perform their duties with less strain.

“Aerial ports have a high injury rate in the Air Force,” said Tech. Sgt. Landon Jensen, Air Mobility Command innovations, systems and future command manager. “That’s why we are looking into this kind of solution to help porters perform their duties more safely while also helping reduce the risk of injuries, so they are not suffering later in life.”

Travis AFB is currently serving as the test base for the new exoskeleton equipment. If the equipment proves to be beneficial, it will be utilized throughout the Air Force.

“We began looking into this equipment because of the outcome of the 2019 Volpe study,” Jensen said. “The Volpe study was a Department of Transportation study that focused on why retired aerial porters alone were costing upwards of $31 million a year on disability benefits.”

Following the results of the 2019 study, the 60th Aerial Port Squadron leadership looked into working with external parties to develop a solution reducing the number of Airmen leaving service in such a rough state.

“This project would have been impossible without the help of Arizona State University,” said 2nd Lt. Aaron Cox, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center program manager. “They focused on the development and manufacturing of the exoskeleton, and without their partnership we wouldn’t have been able to develop this technology.”

After a month-long testing period, the Airmen expressed the suits are a good investment and significantly reduces load bearing.

“This suit’s core function is to help us lift, but can also be used in other ways,” said Airman 1st Class Kyle Sunderman, 60th APS ramp serviceman. “During a load, fatigue can be a real issue and these exoskeletons really take a lot of the strain away.”

However, as with any new piece of equipment, it is not without fault, but the Airmen say they still feel safe.

“There are small things here and there where the suits can be improved to make them more user friendly,” said Airman 1st Class Xaviar Archangel, 60th APS aerial porter. “But there is no danger and these suits don’t have the strength to overpower the user, so I feel completely safe in it.

“These suits are pretty light,” Archangel said. “You hardly notice you are wearing them aside from the bulk around the waist. “But other than that, I could honestly wear these for an extended period with no problems if necessary.”

The Aerial Porter Exoskeleton is still in its prototype stage and will continue to be updated as data is recorded.

By SrA Cameron Otte, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

FirstSpear Friday Focus: ABAV Marked Safe to Fly by US Air Force

Friday, May 14th, 2021

In addition to SOCOM Aviation, the U.S. Air Force has deemed the FirstSpear ABAV (Aviation Body Armor Vest) safe to fly for rotor wing operations.

Continuing to revolutionize the load carriage systems that transition from air, land to over-water operations even further, utilizing the Instant Adjust Back Panel and Adaptive Maritime and Land Cummerbunds this system configures quickly for the full spectrum of operational environments.

*  “6/12™ laser cut platform
*   Tubes™ Rapid-Release Technology
*   Flame Retardant
*   Aviation specific pocket suite
*  Instant Adjust Back Panel
*  Adaptive Cummerbund
*  CTAF devices

Purpose built for tactical aviation roles, the ABAV utilizes the latest in First Spear Technology to keep weight to an absolute minimum while maintaining true mission flexibility. Thanks to Tube™ technology and  Cummerbund Tactical Aid to Flotation (CTAF) interchangeability via the Instant Adjust Back Panel the FS ABAV transitions from over land to over water in well under a minute with no tools required. Located inside the cummerbund, each system includes welded flotation bladders, inflation system and two firing handles for use as emergency tactical floatation aids to enhance aircrew survivability when operating over water. The FS ABAV has enhanced shoulder sleeves wrapping over the shoulder straps which helps keep the User streamlined and unencumbered around the neckline. Designed to absorb the bare minimum of water and provide modular flexibility for mission specific load carriage.  The ABAV utilizes multiple FS technologies, including the 6/12 pocket attachment system and Tubes technology. The FS ABAV meets Flame Retardant (FR) and self-extinguishing parameters set forth by the US Military organizations that adopted it.

FirstSpear’s passion lies in that pursuit and development of disruptive innovation and technologies designed to pass the ultimate test; empowering those who employ them to dominate objectives and prevail in the spirit of our storied namesake. We are FirstSpear, and everything we do is Built for the X.

For more information about FirstSpear, check out www.first-spear.com

822d Base Defense Squadron Supports Agile Flag 21-2

Friday, May 14th, 2021

NAVAL OUTLYING LANDING FIELD CHOCTAW, Fla. — The 822d Base Defense Squadron provided security and opposing forces for the 4th Fighter Wing, North Carolina, during Agile Flag 21-2, May 3-5, 2021.

Air Combat Command’s Agile Flag 21-2 tested the 4th FW’s ability to deploy as a lead air expeditionary wing from its main operating base at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, while supporting three forward operating bases, which included Naval Outlying Landing Field Choctaw, Florida.

“The (exercise) allowed several ACC units to come together and complete a realistic mission set,” said Tech. Sgt. Steven Ethridge, 822d BDS section chief. “The Air Battle Staff was made up of several functions to include civil engineering, security forces and communications. This allowed the members to understand how actual deployments could require working with other units to accomplish the mission. The 822d (BDS’) role in Agile Flag was to provide the 4th FW with a scalable security element at the FOB in order to facilitate integrated combat turns from multi-capable Airmen.”

Integrated combat turns are rapid refueling and rearming procedures that allow pilots to get back to the fight as soon as possible. Without a secure base to conduct ICTs, pilots would be unable to project airpower at faster rates.

“(Base defense Airmen) are highly trained and provide a light, lean and lethal force anywhere in the world,” Ethridge said. “We also bring capabilities such as Airborne and Air Assault, in addition to built-in support functions such as (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), medical, transportation maintenance and communications.”

The 822d BDS joined Agile Flag to augment the 4th FW’s security mission.

In addition to security, the base defense Airmen acted as opposing forces to simulate a near-peer adversary at the FOB. These forces are crucial because they inject realism into the training, allowing Airmen to sharpen their tactics, techniques and procedures for agile combat employment.

“These TTPs will allow current and future lead wings to project air power anywhere, anytime,” Ethridge said. “A team becomes a stronger and more lethal force when they help each other complete the common mission.”

ACC will conduct future exercises focusing on the ACE construct, and for the Airmen involved, the opportunity is invaluable.

“Any time we have an opportunity to address and experiment with force presentation and agile combat employment concepts … it’s a victory for our Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Frasch, ACC operations dynamic force employment chief. “We take what we learned and build on those (lessons) for the next iteration. The more we do this, the faster progress will come.”

Story by A1C Jasmine Barnes, 23d Wing Public Affairs

USAF Reaper Mods Targeted to Provide Capability for Near-Peer Threats

Thursday, May 13th, 2021

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) —

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s MQ-9 Program Office is moving forward with several fleet enhancement capabilities aimed at increasing the MQ-9 Reaper’s effectiveness against near-peer adversary threats.

The MQ-9 is an unmanned aircraft with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and strike capability, traditionally used for Counter-Violent Extremist Organization combat operations. That mission is now shifting.

The MQ-9 is demonstrating it is still a relevant platform as it supports new missions in United States European Command and is now set to receive a suite of upgrades to allow the platform to offer a host of new capabilities for combatant commanders and warfighters around the world.

The Air Force will award the first delivery order of planned MQ-9 Multi-Domain Operation aircraft – which will include several new upgrades from previous production builds – to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in April 2021. The Air Force is also retrofitting a portion of the already fielded MQ-9 fleet to the same M2DO configuration, allowing the Air Force to leverage current fleet numbers to meet future warfighter requirements through the service life of the aircraft.

“Working with Air Combat Command and other stakeholders, the MQ-9 enterprise will add new capabilities to the platform to help ensure the MQ-9 is able to support these missions in the threat environment we envision,” said Lt. Col. Nick Jordan, MQ-9 production and retrofit materiel leader. “The user has directed us to add technology into the platform which signals that the MQ-9 can offer more capability than just C-VEO operations over the next 10 to 15 years. It can remain relevant with these added and upgraded technologies.”

The MQ-9 Program Office is already completing initial fleet retrofits that will mitigate potential jamming to the platform. This is the first retrofit of many, as MQ-9 M2DO configured aircraft will receive additional closely-held capabilities that will enable command and control mission assurance and resiliency while the aircraft is airborne.

Additionally, the MQ-9 team will increase the electronic power for the platform. This increase, coupled with concurrent development efforts to create an open architecture design for the platform, will allow the Air Force to rapidly integrate new capabilities in response to emerging threats identified by combatant commanders.

Additional M2DO enhancements also include upgrades to the electro-optical/infra-red sensor and will expand the types of weapons the platform will be able to carry.

The Air Force projects with these smart investments the MQ-9 will remain operationally viable for worldwide operations through the end of the platform’s projected service life of 2035. In conjunction, the Air Force will continue to evaluate options to find a more viable solution in the future.

By Air Force Life Cycle Management Center

‘Service. Strength. Sacrifice’: Special Tactics Training Complex Dedicated to Fallen STO

Friday, May 7th, 2021

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla.— In a split second while on a mission in 2015, U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Roland made the last leadership decision he would he would ever make. Without hesitation, he chose to protect his team and give them the best shot at overcoming an insider attack in Afghanistan, sacrificing his life in the process.

To honor the fallen Special Tactics Officer’s actions and courageous leadership, the 24th Special Operations Wing along with friends and family hosted a dedication ceremony in Roland’s honor May 6, 2021 at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

“Today I have the privilege of dedicating the Roland Field Leadership Training Complex,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Allen, commander of the 24th SOW. “It’s particularly meaningful to dedicate this training site to Matt as he spent years of his life honing his leadership expertise.”

The wing chose to dedicate one of the Special Tactics Training Squadron facilities used for training and assessing Special Tactics Officers just like Roland.

“It means everything to be a part of his legacy,” said one of the young STOs attending the ceremony and finishing the training pipeline. “I think he embodies a lot of what a lot of people in our position are trying to do and why we joined. Guys like him paved the way for us and have shown us an example of who we should strive to be like. We’re honored to be walking in his footsteps and everyone who came before us.”

In the audience were also several distinguished guests, friends and family members of Matthew Roland including his sister, nieces, fiancé, mother and his father, U.S. Air Force, retired, Col. Mark Roland.

“Matthew was a patriot, he believed in his nation and was dedicated to service,” said Mark. “He loved serving as a STO and leading his team. This complex is a testament that he was good at what he did and respected for how he did it.”

Matthew Roland graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2010 and then entered the rigorous Special Tactics Officer training pipeline to earn the coveted red beret. His last assignment was at the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Members of the fallen Airman’s former squadron watched as the Roland family unveiled the new sign to the Roland Field Leadership Training Complex followed by the Special Tactics tradition of memorial pushups.

“He never quit, he never gave up. Be strong in the face of adversity,” said Mark. “To us, this complex dedicated to selecting and training Special Tactics Officers represents three things that Matthew valued…service, strength and sacrifice.”

As a Special Tactics Officer, Roland was a qualified battlefield commander prepared to lead reconnaissance, strike and recovery missions, as well as a military static-line and free fall jumper, an Air Force combat scuba diver, and a joint terminal attack controller. For his actions during his deployment, Roland was posthumously awarded the nation’s third highest honor for valor, the Silver Star medal, in June of 2016.

“At his core, [Matthew] was concerned with loving and protecting his family, being a leader in our Air Force and living out his warrior ethos,” said Allen. “If there was a hardship, he’d endure it. If there was a burden, he’d help lift it. If there was a challenge…he’d meet it.”

For future Special Tactics leaders, the complex will forever stand as inspiration to the selfless leadership and determination Roland displayed throughout his time in service.

Special Tactics is the Air Force’s most highly decorated community since the Vietnam War specializing in global access, precision strike, personnel recovery and battlefield surgery. Since 9/11, Special Tactics Airmen have received one Medal of Honor, 12 Air Force Crosses and 50 Silver Star Medals.

Photos by SrA Miranda Mahoney and A1C Amanda Flower-Raschella, 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Hurlburt Squadron Provides C2 Advisors to Operational-Level Commanders

Monday, May 3rd, 2021

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla-With global competition heating up, the need to maximize the agility of U.S. Air Force operational command and control has never been more pressing. Fortunately, the USAF’s Operational Command Training Program is a foundational piece of its current C2 training architecture.

The OCTP team is a powerful tool designed to support every Air Component Command around the globe, yet too many operational level leaders are unfamiliar with the program and its value in optimizing mission success.

The OCTP team is made up of graduated C2 leaders who provide operational-level commanders with subject matter expertise, confidential peer-level advice, mentoring, training, and performance feedback. They’re not evaluators and the fact they’re not evaluators makes them a no-risk, candid resource for operational leaders.

“This team is plugged into AOCs and headquarter staffs around the world. They see what works, what doesn’t work, and they share those great ideas and lessons learned everywhere they go,” said Lt. Col. Kari Mott, 705th Training Squadron director of operations, Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Charter

Chartered in 2000 by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, OCTP is the USAF’s senior operational-level C2 training program, operating under the 505th Command and Control Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida, and consists of highly qualified expert-senior mentors and operational C2 observer trainers.

The majority of the senior mentors are retired general officers with experience as commanders of Air Force Forces, Joint Force Air Component Commanders, and Numbered Air Force Commanders. They support joint training exercises, USAF BLUE FLAG exercises, U.S. Army Warfighter exercises, as well as, advanced academics courses such as the JFACC course and senior-level Air Operations Center and staff courses.

The operational C2 observer trainers bring a wealth of experience in operations and planning from the O-6 perspective, as former AOC directors, AOC division chiefs, and/or AFFOR staff principals.

The number of observer trainers has varied over the years, but grew exponentially in 2018 as the USAF recognized a significant shortfall in C2 competency and expertise.  As a result, Air Combat Command tripled the size of the cadre, allowing the senior advisor team to support the full spectrum of air component leadership requirements, to include supporting multiple overlapping events and other C2 development initiatives.

The current cadre of observer trainers include a mix of government civilians and contractors with extensive active duty and reserve experience in flying operations, logistics, intelligence, and non-kinetic operations, among other specialties. Their main focus is working with AOC and air component division leaders, but they also work at the team level and with directors of Mobility Forces, directors of Cyber Forces, and directors of Space Forces.

“Despite a small pool of candidates with the necessary experience and skillsets, we assembled an exceptional team of professionals,” said Mott.

But their expertise goes well beyond just working in the air components.

“The depth of our observer trainers is truly amazing,” said Robin Kimmelman, OCTP flight lead, 705th TRS. “Our team includes former operational commanders, weapons school, and School of Advanced Air and Space Studies graduates. They’ve worked as DIRMOBFORs, in Checkmate, on joint staffs, and at the Air Staff, and they all possess the been-there-done-that leadership experience in AOCs, headquarters staffs, and on joint task forces. In other words, in terms of operational command and control, if you name it, someone on our team has probably done it.”

The 705th TRS is responsible for administering the OCTP program, fully mixing the team into its overarching operational C2 training mission. 

“Observer trainers provide knowledge and best practices honed across all AORs to help commanders and staffs improve their processes to meet emerging problem sets,” said Lt. Col. John Christianson, 705th TRS commander, Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Operational Exercises

On the road during exercises, senior mentors and observer trainers work closely together to support their training audience. Through daily meetings and other interactions, these subject matter experts are able to influence decisions across the air component to ensure the exercise participants are getting the most out of the exercise. If the participants are heading in the wrong direction, the team is there to help guide them back on course using their practical experience to drive learning, while passing personal lessons to help today’s leaders avoid past mistakes.

“What I enjoy most about my job is interacting one-on-one with a division chief during a short pause in the action to share a how I worked a situation similar to the scenario he faces…what worked and what blew up…it is always great to see that little nudge turn into a golden nugget that is forever learned by the training audience,” said William Murphey, operational C2 senior advisor for air mobility, 705th TRS.

The OCTP teams typically support exercises that include heavy AOC and AFFOR involvement, such as BLUE FLAG, Pacific Sentry, Austere Challenge, and Vigilant Shield, along with high-level training events in the Republic of Korea.

What’s Ahead

The OCTP team delivers much more than just exercise support. Throughout the pandemic, the OCTP team remains engaged through a myriad of other support activities, providing continued value to air components around the globe. 

Some of these efforts included development and publication of handbooks for AOC commanders, battle staff directors, and division chiefs, with more forthcoming in 2021. The team also created dozens of pre-exercise academic lessons and presented multiple advanced academic lessons for operational C2 leaders, both virtually and in the classroom at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

“While we plan to expand these C2 initiatives, we hope that 2021 also allows us to go back out on the road and continue our work face-to-face with air component teams in the field,” said Christianson.

In the meantime, business continues to grow for the senior advisor team, as their expertise is specifically demanded in support of Joint All-Domain C2 events, Chennault, Doolittle, and Schriever Wargames, and agile combat employment development and exercises. This direct, high-level, interaction continues to ensure each senior advisor remains current and relevant in terms of on-going C2 challenges and emerging concept development. Pulling from their collaboration within these venues, observer trainers share the latest information and benchmark details with peer operational C2 leaders in the field.

OCTP Tri-fold

For more information about the OCTP observer trainers, contact the team at: [email protected]

Debbie Henley, 505th Command and Control Wing (ACC) Public Affairs

Air Force Research Lab Awards Body Armor Vent SBIR Contract

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

TEN 97 Inc. is proud to announce that THE AIR FORCE RESEARCH LABORATORY (AFRL) has awarded a SBIR/AFWERX PHASE 1 funding grant to TEN 97 inc. (dba – BODY ARMOR VENT®) to develop a group of potential U.S. Military customers for their unique BODY ARMOR VENT retrofit kit panels, and to secure MOU’s for same that say there is a desire/intent to purchase and use said panels with their soldiers’ plate carriers.

The rationale is that BODY ARMOR VENT panels, for the first time in the history of body armor, effortlessly (extremely light weight) and inexpensively, foster increased air movement between base layer and plate carrier, causing much more evaporative cooling under the armor than heretofore.

This cooling and evaporation keeps soldiers healthier, more aware and therefore safer while wearing all forms of armor. The panels also distribute the weight of the carriers better.

They also reduce epidermal issues caused by perspiration that does not evaporate.