The 1st Air and Space Communications Operations Squadron held an internal demonstration with wing leadership for a newly developed prototype at Ramstein Air Base, on Aug. 3.
The squadron showcased their new project to Col. Bryan Callahan, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing commander, and other staff members from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa.
The prototype was designed to improve the way 1st ACOS accomplishes Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance operations.
Twenty 1st ACOS Airmen and contractors repurposed a vehicle with the technology and equipment needed to accomplish ISR duties on the go. Their goal was to prove that they could take their existing capabilities and mobilize them on a scale that hasn’t been accomplished yet.
“In the past, for ISR, we have never put it on such a mobile platform before,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Robinson, 1st ACOS unit deployment manager.
Traditionally, Airmen would have to spend a great amount of time and energy forward deploying to a location and setting up all the equipment needed to accomplish their duties. Their newly developed concept would alleviate some of that burden and introduce a new method of providing ISR in addition to their existing capabilities.
“It allows for quicker information,” Robinson said. “We can just send a [vehicle] that’s ready-to-go out the door, instead of sending out a tent with a kit then waiting for teams to set it up so this gets information out to the warfighter at an increasing rate that we haven’t seen in the past.”
The data 1st ACOS transmits directly impacts USAFE leaders’ ability to make informed decisions in the theater.
“We operate at the speed of need,” said Lt. Col. Phillip Alvarez, 1st ACOS commander. “Our Airmen are able to conduct ISR on the go already, but this new system is all about taking us from mobility to agility. As the theater continues to rapidly evolve, we’re adapting to get data needed for commanders to be able to make decisions faster. What we’re trying to do here is innovate scalable solutions to feed the fight of tomorrow.”
A goal for the project was to develop a faster, lighter platform that could complete ISR operations without compromising security.
“After testing its capabilities, we can tell that signals going in and out were able to be blocked off by the protocols and the materials that we have,” said Airman 1st Class Marcus Greene, 1st ACOS cyber security technician.
Robinson attributes the success of the demonstration to the team, and he stressed that their work doesn’t stop here.
“1st ACOS has put a lot of work into this,” Robinson said. “We’re looking forward to seeing this go from what it is now to the future and bringing more capabilities to the warfighter downrange cause at the end of the day, it’s helping us do our mission and keeping Airmen safe.”
The demonstration sought to show that the 1st ACOS could take their capabilities and mobilize them to meet the future needs of USAFE, prompting positive feedback from 435th AGOW leadership.
“It’s exciting to see our Airmen developing solutions to the unique challenges we face in this theater,” said Callahan. “The AGOW is an elite wing, leading the way at the forward edge. Our 1st ACOS Airmen are no exception, and I’m pleased to see the innovative strides they’re taking to enable Agile Combat Employment in Europe.”