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The US Air Force (USAF) has upgraded the Control and Reporting Center (CRC) Operations Module (OM) in an effort to reduce its footprint.

The upgrade was performed by the Hanscom Air Force Base’s Control and Reporting Center Program Office. It was aimed at making the system more easily transportable by integrating all of its components within one shelter in a decreased 10ft x 12ft size, and also to bring it up to date with the current technology.

Currently, the CRC is set up with 16 operator stations in four OM shelters. It consists of several subsystems, including AN/TPS-75 radar, a radio module, theatre deployable communications unit module, and the OM.

The CRC is a mobile command, control, and communications radar element. It is designed to provide a comprehensive air picture by integrating input from air- and ground-based radars, as well as from its surveillance and control radars.

"Currently, the CRC is set up with 16 operator stations in four OM shelters."

The system performs decentralised command and control of joint operations by conducting threat warning, battle management, theatre missile defence, weapons control, combat identification, and strategic communications.

USAF programme manager captain Joshua Sollee said: "The key is to get our warfighters out of the legacy (CRC) shelters that have cold war-era technology and ensure what they train on equals what they’ll fight with in theatre.

"The CRC will allow our warfighters to deploy with the system they train on and reduce current in-theatre sustainment costs.

"The new system will have a commercial-off-the-shelf architecture, in line with training and industry standards, so that an airman off the street can use it easily."

It is expected that the upgraded system will enable end-users to track more flights, with more fidelity, in a more user-friendly functionality, while allowing for easier upgrades in the future.

Having completed a technical data package and producing production-ready units as a risk-reduction activity, the Hansom team achieved milestone C in November 2014, and followed it up with release of a request for proposal for the production contract.

The contract for production of up to 16 units is expected to be awarded later this year, with fielding by early 2016.

Image: An artistic impression of Control and Reporting Center Operations Module. Photo: courtesy of illustration by Frank Landry.