News: Bold Quest: the Indiana Connection
Story by Staff Sgt. David Bruce
EDINBURGH, Ind. — Three times in the past two years the Joint Staff has held their Bold Quest capabilities demonstration in Indiana. Not just Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, but Indiana. Bold Quest utilized five military installations located throughout the state to facilitate the exercise. From the facilities of the 122nd Fighter Wing, Indiana Air National Guard, in Fort Wayne, Ind., in the north-east corner of the state to Jefferson Proving Ground, near Madison, Ind., in the south, and points in between such as Grissom Air Reserve Base, Camp Atterbury, near Edinburgh, Ind., and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, near Butlerville, Ind., Indiana joined in an international endeavor, providing the test bed, the laboratory where the defense industry and coalition militaries could test new technologies.
Bold Quest is a combined demonstration to assess the integration of joint fires, maneuver and network operations in a live and virtual environment, and to help enhance combat effectiveness, reduce fratricide and improve situational awareness. Bold Quest brought together the militaries of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Demark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and NATO. These partners provided troops, aircraft and technologies to create solutions to help soldiers share information.
The support afforded to Bold Quest didn’t stop at geography, but included troops from the Indiana National Guard.
During a proof of concept integrating joint fires, Soldiers of Battery B 2nd Battalion, 150th Field Artillery, Indiana Army National Guard, fired M-777 155mm howitzers with information provided by French and Norwegian forward observers. Concurrently, Norwegian troops linked their radar to their command and control systems, tracking the rounds back to their source. That location data was then transmitted to French Mirage 2000D fighters for simulated counter-fire.
“We’re making history here. It’s the first time the French army called for fire and received support from American artillery on these systems,” said Spc. Jared Shand, Indianapolis, artilleryman in Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 150th Field Artillery Regiment, headquartered in Rockville, Ind. “I consider myself really lucky to have the opportunity to work with all these different coalition forces. We’ve gotten the communications worked out; our work in the lab has come to fruition here in the field.”
According to John Miller, Bold Quest operational manager, support provided by the Indiana National Guard was a key component to the success of Bold Quest.
“The enthusiasm and level of support from the Indiana National Guard and these installations is something we remember,” said Miller. “Having been here three times in two years, we are familiar with the venues and the contacts that make this a success.”
Miller also said that Bold Quest offered the Indiana National Guard training opportunities in return.
“The 219th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade took advantage of this by aligning Bold Quest events with their training goals.”
This concurrent training, using Bold Quest venues and technologies as part of their training events allows both organizations to benefit and saves money in these resource limited times, he said.
The 219th BfSB scheduled their annual training period to participate in some of the Bold Quest events, said Col. Tim Thombleson, commander of the 219th BfSB.
“Bold Quest was one of our lines of effort for this annual training,” he said. “We had 2-150 Field Artillery at Camp Atterbury working with the French and Norwegian army on joint fires. C Company, 2nd Battalion, 151st Infantry teamed with a Canadian rifle platoon for missions. During Bold Quest we were exposed to a lot of technology that we normally would not have access to.”
In addition to the boots on the ground that the Indiana Army National Guard represented, they also provided eyes in the sky in the form of RQ7B Shadow Unmanned Aerial Systems.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randall Avallone, tactical unmanned aerial system platoon leader with B Company, 76th Special Troops Battalion, 76th Infantry Brigade, Indiana Army National Guard, said the Shadows were launched from Jefferson Proving Grounds, near Madison, Ind., and flew over the Bold Quest venue at Muscatatuck.
“We conducted intelligence gathering for the various events, integrating the video feed from the Shadow for coalition partners to use with their systems,” he said. “We’ve worked with Norwegians and Belgians in call-for-fire tests simulating armed aircraft with the Shadows.”
Avallone said that communication was a key goal for Bold Quest.
“We want to distinguish what systems work together to transfer data over radio. We’re testing communication between the ground and air assets of the coalition partners and how to combine them to work more smoothly,” he said.
There is a maxim that an army trains to fight its last war. That statement is so 20th Century. Indiana is helping Bold Quest develop the technologies that will determine how the soldiers will fight the wars of the 21st Century.