11th ADA THAAD battery shows command post interoperability
By Chief Warrant Officer 2 Benjamin E. Richards, Battery D, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th ADA Brigade:
(El Paso, Texas, Feb. 16, 2017) The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense is the Army’s newest and most premiere ballistic missile defense system, “with a globally-transportable, rapidly-deployable capability to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight.” Battery D, “Dragons,” 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery “Imperial” Brigade is a THAAD battery garrisoned here since October 2012.
The THAAD weapon system is it includes: launchers with eight missile interceptors, one Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance system and the THAAD Fire Control and Commutations equipment.
When initially fielded it was missing one vital component: a command and control center with the resources to receive and display external “track” data. The answer came in a system already in the Army’s inventory; the AN/TSQ-253 Communications Operations Center, fielded with a 10K generator and Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter tent provided THAAD all the requirements.
The AN/TSQ-253, while serving with THAAD, is most commonly known as the THAAD Battery Command Post. The TBCP has significantly enhanced operations and mission readiness through robust data link and voice capabilities. Among some of these capabilities are high frequency voice, satellite voice, secure terminal equipment voice and data, Ultra High Frequency Link 16 data, Joint Range Extension Application Protocol data and Common Integrated Broadcast data. These “data link” protocols are standardized by joint doctrine Military Standard (MIL-STD) 3011, MIL-STD 6016.
The TBCP has many redundant means of receiving, transmitting and displaying friendly and enemy rotary and fixed wing aircraft, and missile threats worldwide. The TBCP is operated by three air defense Soldiers. Their main roles include: providing early warning, establishing voice and data integration with the THAAD system with required outside agencies, screening and validating all tracks, receiving data from external sources for synchronize engagement coordination, airspace de-confliction and situational awareness across the area of operations, reporting to commander and higher echelons, submissions of surface-to-air missile status report and monitoring and reporting in tactical chat.
“THAAD is a huge asset to America’s defense systems, and it’s an honor to be part of it,” said Spc. Samuel Gustin, air defense battle management system operator, proudly when asked how he felt about being assigned to the TBCP.
Although it is not as glamorous as the TFCC or launchers, the TBCP is just as crucial and the Soldiers assigned to work in the TBCP recognize this almost immediately.
“This is one of the most important things I have ever done,” said Spc. Joshua Burda, a TBCP crew member.
Considering that Delta Battery “Dragons,” 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery “Imperial” Brigade assumed the Global Response Force Mission in the beginning of the year, which could require the unit to deploy at a moment’s notice, it’s no wonder the Dragons recognize their actions, whether big or small, have an impact on a very important mission.
“D-2 ADA’s TBCP operators are the best of the best; they know their role and importance to provide situational awareness and early warning,” said Capt. Mison Kang, commander, Battery D, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.
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