News: Soldiers learn to control the skies
Story by Sgt. Todd Robinson
FORT BLISS, Texas - Soldiers with the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, began evaluating a new system to aid them in the battlefield at Network Integration Evaluation 14.1 this week at Fort Bliss, Texas, near White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
The Air Space Management environment is a portable, low cost, low overhead system.
The system allows operators at brigade level to perform duties much like an air traffic controller, coordinating elements with Air Force early warning systems, Navy assets, artillery and mortars, air defense artillery and aviation assets.
Run from a standard laptop, it allows brigade elements responsible for maintaining critical airspaces of a battlefield to combine local units as well as joint-service assets.
“The tactical Airspace integration system links us with our battalions, monitoring restricted operating zones we fire into,” said Spc. Jesse Lee Bowlan, an early systems warning operator with 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division. [The system] “allows us to tell aircraft to not enter specific areas in case artillery is firing. You don’t want aircraft in a restricted zone, if you have artillery going into that area. You don’t want to hit friendly aircraft.
AME also allows realistic training by simulating the many facets of managing brigade airspace.
Your cell relies heavily on managing airspace; this system simulates an aircraft flying around, allowing the operator to see the tracks on his screen, said Warrant Officer Brian C. Rachel, a command and control systems technician with 2/1 AD. Without having to use actual aircraft, it can save the Army millions of dollars for the cost of fuel and equipment.
NIE 14.1 includes a month-long operational phase, during which time soldiers use the equipment in a simulated combat environment, and through this usage the soldiers make recommendations for needed changes to the systems evaluated.