Wings host new communication technologies at Bold Quest Plus

  • Published
  • 46th/53d Staff report
The Eglin ranges here became warzones last week when the 46th Test Wing and the 53d Wing hosted U.S. Joint Forces Command during the demonstration process of new air-to-ground communication technologies.

The demonstration of new Coalition Combat Identification technologies took place during Bold Quest Plus, a two-week Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration to showcase innovative ways to enhance future warfighting capabilities, according to John Miller, USJFCOM's operational manager for Bold Quest Plus.

For its part, the 53rd Wing brought in A-10s, F-15s and F-16s from one of their geographically separated units, the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air force Base, Nev., to take part in the event.

Those aircraft helped the international Bold Quest Plus players demonstrate and evaluate their new equipment called Battlefield Target Identification or BTIDS, according to Maj. Daniel Weak, 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron.

The BTIDS was demonstrated on a combination of British, Canadian, Marine and Navy aircraft.

"We're trying to give our coalition team the tools that will allow them to sort through the dust and fog of war to be faster and more accurate in a gunfight," Mr. Miller said.

The simulated combat scenario set up by the host units at the range put a coalition team providing humanitarian assistance into a war-torn village receiving heavy sniper fire from a nearby building where friendly forces were patrolling earlier.

Concerned about returning fire in a populated area, the team contacted an Air Force joint terminal attack controller to provide close air support.

The JTAC located the threat and passed the location information to an Air Force aircraft overhead. The pilot received the threat information, initiated a friendly force location request from a Combat Identification Server on the ground.

"BTIDS combined with the experimental Combat ID server creates a complete hardware/software system used to pinpoint targets on the ground as well as identify friendly forces proximity and talk with other aircraft in the area," said Major Weak.

The BTIDS and close-air support systems such as Link 16, Strike Link Alpha and others work to create a "wi-fi" network for the aircraft. This allows for quicker, clearer communication for ground and air forces.

"We're focused on the tools required by aircrew and ground controllers who coordinate the attack or drop bombs on targets," said Mr. Miller. "Ensuring that these technologies are built coalition interoperable will enable them to do that more quickly and effectively ... and will ultimately result in saving lives."