NEWS - 9-11-98

Space plays major role in EFX 98

by Capt. Tammie Grevin

HQ AFSPC Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- Air Force Space Command is a major player in finding innovative ways of waging and winning future conflicts. During a $40 million experiment Sept. 10 - 26 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., AFSPC will provide the information link between the expeditionary force deployed and the command and control elements left behind.

The Expeditionary Force Experiment '98 is the first in a series of revolutionary Air Force command and control experiments designed to improve the warfighting capabilities of an air expeditionary force by moving more information to the front lines with fewer people. It will combine live flying, simulations and technology insertion to improve the warfighting capabilities of an air expeditionary force.

"This is a major step in the integration of Air and Space," said Brig. Gen. Bill Looney, Commander of the Space Warfare Center at Schriever AFB, Colo. "It is an opportunity for the Air Force to push the envelope of ideas and concepts as how to employ air and space power in the 21st Century."

The Air Force's new Air and Space Command and Control Agency (ASC2A), headquartered at Langley AFB, Va., will lead the experiment. ASC2A will oversee the experiment's emerging concepts and technologies designed to provide the Air Force with improved capabilities.

The scenario for this experiment depicts a rouge nation attacking one of America's allies. At the request of this ally, the United States responds with an aerospace expeditionary force to halt the enemy invasion using advanced command and control technologies. Approximately 80 aircraft, including the latest fighters, bombers, airlift, reconnaissance and command and control aircraft will be merged using the latest in modeling and simulation technologies to closely examine Air Force operates in the next century.

EFX is a whole new way of conducting business for the Air Force. EFX is directly linked to Joint Vision 2010, the blueprint for future warfighting and joint-service operations. Prior to EFX, Air Force members trained at traditional exercises such as Blue Flag and Ulchi Focus Lens, to hone the tactics and procedures of existing command, control and intelligence assets. EFX, however, is experimental in nature and looks at new, innovative and futuristic.

"Experiments test new unproven initiatives, doctrine and equipment that one day may become reality," said Maj. Gen. John Hawley, the ASC2A commander. "This year our experiments focus on command and control, or C2, the lifeblood of the Air Force."

The first major objective in this experiment is to forward deploy a small, 100-person Joint Air Operations Center (JAOC) on a one-day C-17 flight. During Desert Shield, more than 1,500 members were sent to the JAOC, which took more than 10 days and required the equivalent of 25 flights by a C-17 transport aircraft. The experiment will have a forward JAOC at Eglin, (the theater of conflict area) and a rear JAOC at Langley (the stateside JAOC). Forecasting future conflicts is difficult, therefore, it is ideal to have a smaller and more mobile JAOC. The obvious benefit is being able to put bombs on target much earlier and stifle the aggressor's ground offensive before it can be fully unleashed.

The second major objective of this experiment is improving the situational awareness of the Joint Forces Air Component Commander (JFACC) - usually the senior Air Force officer on scene. Prior to EFX 98, JFACCs had to wait until they arrived in theater to get current intelligence and operations information. That's not the case anymore.

Space brings Track II and Multi-Source Tactical System (MSTS) to the forward JAOC, the rear JAOC and airborne aircraft. This new technology allows the JFACC to keep in constant touch with developments in the combat zone and make informed decisions even when not in the theater of conflict.

Track II allows a commander to "track" aircraft, through the use of satellites and to plot the position of the aircraft. It also allows for the secure communication between the two through E-mail. The future rear JAOC can get information to aircraft enroute to the theater or targets in minutes.

MSTS on the other hand, provides aircrews an enroute, updated electronic order of battle and air order of battle. MSTS also provides the aircrew information on terrain, expected air and ground threats and weather updates via satellite. Mission planning information and weapons selection and employment that would normally be accomplished prior to take-off can now be sent directly to the crews while enroute to their target. The aircrew integrates all the information gathered from Track II and MSTS on the display in their aircraft and can actually pre-fly the mission in 3-D before they arrive at their target.

Other Space initiatives in EFX 98 include Command and Control Mobile Capability (C2MC) and National Eagle. C2MC was developed to assist command and control centers in the prosecution of time-critical targets and theater missile defense operations. C2MC has the potential to become a major decision-making tool for the JFACC in the future. Using C2MC, the JFACC can receive improved situational awareness information, conduct intelligence preparation of the battlespace, find time-critical targets and use Air Taking Orders to match air and ground resources to prosecute time-critical targets.

The National Eagle van provides for direct downlink of space imagery and insertion into Air Force mission planning systems. This allows a pilot to pre-fly the mission in a 3-D environment in the van prior to take-off.

There will be about 51 space experts participating in EFX 98. There are people in the rear AOC, the forward AOC, at the Space Operations Center and at the Wing Operations Center.

"Space is one of the key players in EFX-98," said Looney. "We're excited about that, it's really our chance to take a major step in integrating Air and Space as we approach the 21st Century. In EFX-99, Space will be the major focus."

For more information about EFX 98 or 99, visit the EFX Task Force Web page at (Courtesy of AFSPC News Service)



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