JSTARS operators put new technology to the test
By Master Sgt. Roger Parsons, 116 ACW, Public Affairs
/ Published February 20, 2014
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- E-8C Joint STARS operators recently trained for and started testing a new capability that will allow them to receive and transmit crucial data to more joint agencies at a farther distance than ever before.
The Joint Range Extension Applications Protocol; known as JREAP-C, is currently being tested by JSTARS crews as an addition to expand the capabilities of the already robust command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform.
"Once implemented, JREAP-C, combined with our current capabilities, will give us the ability to see the battlespace in real time before we arrive on station," said Maj. Michael Moore, a Georgia Air National Guard air intelligence functional evaluator with the 116th Operations Group. "This will give us a huge advantage by enabling us to build our situational awareness and start prosecuting our mission before we enter the battlespace. Beyond line of sight capability will ensure we are that much more ahead of the game before we show up."
"This extension of our current Joint Tactical Information Distribution System beyond line of sight will ultimately enable us to provide increased situational awareness to decision makers across the globe," added Moore.
Prior to initial testing, crewmembers honed their current skill sets and trained on the new Joint Range Extension Applications Protocol during a recent JT-101, Multi-Tactical Data Link Network Operations Course conducted by the Joint Interoperability Division, a part of the United States Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff J7.
The Joint Interoperability Division's mission is to train and support the Combatant Commands, the Armed Services, and Department of Defense Agencies to operate Tactical Data Link networks together and in concert with U.S. Allies and Coalition partners in order to share vital command and control information and achieve full spectrum dominance through unity of command and effort.
The five-day training course held at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., was aimed at enabling U.S. Armed Forces to better employ together.
"Our goal with this course was two-fold," shared U.S. Marine Capt. James Phillips, instructor with the Joint Multi-TDL School. "To ensure the JSTARS crewmembers are well versed in the capabilities of their platform and for them to understand the capabilities of other services and how to interoperate jointly."
"With our capabilities continually expanding, this training has been very beneficial to help broaden my horizons," said Staff Sgt. Marquise Kennebrew, a Georgia Air National Guard communications system technician with the 128th Airborne Command and Control Squadron. "I have a better understanding of how to use our technology to communicate with other services and know how they work and how they view us."
During initial testing of the JREAP-C system, JSTARS operators put their training to the test successfully connecting and coordinating with ground servers from both Southern and Pacific Commands.
Providing integrated command and control and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, Team JSTARS has completed more than 90,000 flight hours supporting combatant commands across the globe during 12 years of continuous overseas operations.