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WADS Integrates Tactical Transportable Gateway During Agile Combat Employment Exercise

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Tyler Shoemaker, 225th Air Defense Squadron air battle manager

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA -- In today's rapidly evolving military landscape, the ability to adapt quickly and integrate resources across units and major commands is crucial for success. The Western Air Defense Sector (WADS) recently achieved a significant milestone in capability development through the tactical datalink integration of upgraded Suite 9 F-15s assigned to the Oregon Air National Guard’s 123rd Fighter Squadron using the Tactical Transportable Gateway (TTG) of the Washington ANG’s 111th Air Support Operations Squadron. This achievement highlights the importance of collaboration between units to pool resources and achieve Agile Combat Employment.

Tactical data links are secure military communication standards that exchange tactical data between platforms and commands.  The TTG, which is the size of a suitcase, links ground forces with corps and division headquarters and air support, while providing situational awareness for large areas by sending voice and digital text messages across multiple networks and waveforms to include Link-16 data exchange network.

The 111th ASOS’s TTG is mobile and equipped with a Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS). These capabilities are crucial for WADS, as the WADS Joint Interface Control Cell (JICC) currently lacks mobile link equipment and a MIDS JTRS of their own. While borrowing equipment is not a sustainable long-term solution, it has allowed WADS to make significant progress by transforming the ways remote battle management teams (BMTs) can conduct homeland air defense.

The integration of the TTG with other systems, such as the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), contributes to the success of ACE in several ways. MUOS is a revolutionary SATCOM system that provides an essential network that dwarfs legacy capabilities. The improved command and control capabilities enable BMTs to make timely decisions, respond to changing situations, and effectively execute missions. This capability allows BMTs to rapidly disperse and reposition, maintaining operational flexibility and deterring potential adversaries. The ability to communicate and coordinate effectively, regardless of location, enhances the agility and lethality of dispersed operations.

This training amplifies the skillset of WADS personnel and prepares them for future operations where Link 16 integration is essential. By staying ahead of the learning curve, WADS can adapt quickly to emerging technologies and operational requirements, contributing to ongoing innovation within the organization.

The successful integration and testing of borrowed equipment serve as a precursor to future operations. WADS is eagerly awaiting the arrival of their own JTRS, which will further strengthen their ACE capabilities. In August, WADS plans to bring the TTG to another ACE exercise, leveraging the addition of MUOS Joint Range Extension Application Protocol-C (JREAP-C) to push an air picture from a remote location.

WADS continues to make remarkable strides with the resources available, positioning themselves for success in the ever-evolving military landscape. Through the integration of upgraded fighters, collaboration with other units, and the utilization of borrowed equipment, WADS has showcased their commitment to ACE and innovation. The achievements made thus far are a testament to the dedication and ingenuity of the personnel involved. As WADS continues to build strong relationships and pursue innovative solutions, they are poised to achieve even greater success in the future.