The US Air Force (USAF) First Air Support Operations Group’s Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) airmen have successfully performed command and control (C2) operations in the Arctic in support of Exercise Polar Quake.
A seven-member team of TACP airmen took part in the mission carried out at Utqiagvik, Alaska, and Point Barrow, Alaska, on the coast of the Arctic Ocean.
The 673rd Communications Squadron and 212th Rescue Squadron (RQS) at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson also offered support to the team.
The exercise was intended to test the TACP’s current training and equipment in the Arctic environment.
As part of the mission, the team set up and maintained several C2 nodes designed to aid the Agile Combat Employment construct.
Each tactical C2 node included high-frequency communication equipment, which was used by multiple Precision Strike Teams to transmit intelligence back to the Tactical Operations Centre (TOC).
TOC personnel then sent this information to the Air Operations Centre (AOC).
One Precision Strike Team comprised three TACPs assigned to the Third Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS), while a pararescueman assigned to the 212th provided emergency support.
Third Air Support Operations Squadron flight chief master sergeant Willard Bruce said: “We’re here specifically to set up a TOC in Utqiagvik and send out multiple Precision Strike Teams along the coast and on the sea ice, utilising some of our standard equipment and various additional items to test and evaluate new capabilities and sensors in order to collect battlespace awareness data and report that back to decision makers in the AOC at Joint Base Hickam-Pearl Harbour, Hawaii.
“Because it’s an Arctic scenario, we’re also proving we can manoeuvre great distances through the environment across the entire coastline and send reports via an unhindered communication network.”