Sunday, April 29, 2007

Alaska A-10s are goin' to Georgia

Four A-10 Thunderbolt IIs with the 355th Fighter Squadron are parked in position at the end of runway to be armed by Airmen from the 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron on April 24 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Due to the Base Realignment and Closure list the A-10 Thunderbolt II is being relocated to Moody AFB, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jonathan Snyder)

'Mission accomplished' for NRO at Onizuka AFS

by Capt. Tony Muro, Operating Division 4 Detachment 1

4/23/2007 - ONIZUKA AIR FORCE STATION, Calif. -- The National Reconnaissance Office's mission here ended recently after 46 years of service to the nation.

Dr. Donald Kerr, director of the NRO in Washington, D.C., presided over a deactivation ceremony in March wherein he thanked the men and women of the Blue Cube here for their dedicated service.

More than 800 guests attended the ceremony and open house, including Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, vice commander of Air Force Space Command; Brig. Gen. Larry James, director of the Signal Intelligence Systems Acquisitions and Operations Directorate; and former NRO Director Jeff Harris.

The ceremony reflected upon the rich history and many contributions that the Onizuka facility has made to the nation's space reconnaissance efforts. The division's story dates back to the late 1950s and the beginning of Soviet and American efforts in space.

The space race began with the launch of Sputnik in 1957, after which a small plot of land in Sunnyvale, Calif., became the hub of space reconnaissance. At its peak in 1993, the Blue Cube housed more than 1,200 people and provided communications and infrastructure support to a wide variety of organizations.

Onizuka AFS holds a legendary history of firsts that helped the NRO become the leading-edge organization it is today, Dr. Kerr said. Throughout the years, the facility has been a critical node in space operations and has led the way during the nation's first steps in groundbreaking reconnaissance from space.

At the dawn of imagery intelligence from space, Onizuka AFS was the birthplace of the Corona program, the world's first photo reconnaissance satellite. Included in this program was the first mapping of Earth from space, the first midair recovery of a vehicle returning from space and the first views of denied areas from space.

Dr. Kerr honored the men and women of Onizuka for their dedication to establishing the NRO, as well as for being the cornerstone in the nation's security from space. He thanked them for their tenacity in protecting freedom and for ensuring the United States always held the ultimate high ground.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Green Flag launches Strike Eagles into the air

Two F-15E Strike Eagles prepare to launch in support of Exercise Green Flag April 24 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Green Flag is an Air Combat Command pre-deployment exercise for units who perform close-air support. The training exercise, which began April 19 and runs through May 4, mirrors many of the irregular warfare-conditions aircrews will see while fighting the war on terrorism. During Green Flag, aircrews will try to learn better ways to employ airpower within an irregular warfare environment. The F-15Es are from Seymor Johnson AFB, N.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pre-launch ops keep Sharks busy

by Eric Brian, 45th SW Public Affairs

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 45th Launch Group is busily processing flight hardware and gearing up for a number of launches through the rest of the year.

"Although there aren't any launches in April and May, there is a lot of work being done at the Launch Group," said Col. Scott Henderson, 45th LCG commander. "All three of our squadrons are very busy."

The 45th Launch Support Squadron is de-encapsulating the last remaining Defense Support Program satellite and transferring the spacecraft to the processing cell in the Large Payload Facility. DSP satellites help protect the nation and its allies by detecting missile launches, space launches and nuclear detonations.

The satellite will launch atop the first operational Delta IV Heavy. That vehicle, however, had to be removed from a pad at Space Launch Complex 37 after cracks were found in the concrete launch table. The launch is on hold pending repair of the launch table. Officials hope to reschedule the launch late this summer.

"Over the next three weeks, we'll be putting the DSP back into the Integration Cell," said LCSS Operations Officer Lt. Col. John Wagner. "Moving flight hardware is never a trivial task, and it will require a focused effort from our facilities and spacecraft teams -- contractors, military and civilians. However, this is essential to ensuring we have a spacecraft ready for orbit when SLC-37 and the booster team is ready for launch."

Four blue-suiters are working DSP operations around the clock, said Master Sgt. Tom Shank, Spacecraft Flight chief. "We're very busy in preparing all the different spacecraft processing before launch."

Spacecraft processing for other upcoming missions includes the first launch of the Wideband Global SATCOM satellite replacing the venerable Defense Satellite Communica-tions System.

"WGS is a substantial leap forward in Satellite Communications for joint forces worldwide," said Colonel Wagner.

They are digitally channelized, transponded satellites that provide a quantum leap in communications capacity, connectivity and flexibility for U.S. military forces, while maintaining interoperability with existing and programmed terminals. They are designed to provide essential communications services for combatant commanders to command and control their tactical forces. Tactical forces will rely on WGS to provide high-capacity connectivity into the terrestrial portion of the Defense Information Systems Network.

"A single WGS spacecraft has as much bandwidth as the entire existing DSCS constellation," said Colonel Wagner.

"The spacecraft may arrive at the Cape by late May", said Maj. Tom McIntyre, Spacecraft Flight commander. "They'll do their initial testing at the Cape and verify they have good connectivity with the Air Force Satellite Control Network. We're looking at a late summer launch."

In addition to those missions, the Launch Group is processing two GPS spacecraft -- IIR-17 and IIR-18, coupled with facility air conditioning upgrades and a Space-Based Infrared System pathfinder before the flight vehicle arrives in 2008.

The 45th LCSS is also working with the 1st and 5th Space Launch Squadrons, processing booster payload fairings in several of the LCSS spacecraft clean-room facilities for upcoming missions.

The 1st Space Launch Squadron is planning to launch three missions, said Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Myron Fortson.

"Dawn is a NASA mission to explore the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter," said Colonel Fortson. "One asteroid to be explored has the physical characteristics of the inner planets. The other asteroid has qualities of the icy moon-type planets further out in the solar system. By comparing the two, it should help determine the origin of our planets."

A Delta II Heavy launch is scheduled to loft Dawn in late June.

"The Heavy uses bigger solid rocket than those used for a typical GPS mission," said Colonel Fortson. "It has 46-inch graphite epoxy motors, which provide more thrust than the normal 40-inch motors."

Phoenix, the latest Mars Lander mission, is scheduled to launch in August, he said.

"This mission has a limited science window and must launch between Aug. 3 and 24," he said. "If it doesn't it may be years, if ever, so this timeframe is critical. The GPS is right behind that; currently we are planning for late August."

"Normally if we only had one mission, it would take about two months after rocket arrival to get ready," said Maj. Dave Laird, 1st SLS director of mission assurance. "But we have six missions before the end of the year, so it takes lot more lead time; we're working on two to three vehicles at a time."

The 1st SLS is working on hardware for GPS IIR-17 and on the solid motors for Dawn.

The Dawn first stage will start, and test activities this week.

"When stages come in, we're almost an extension of the factory," said Major Laird. "They're built at the factory, but we test the actuators, every moving part and every electronic part so they are thoroughly tested multiple times."

Once on the pad, the booster is hooked up, and tests are conducted on fuel loading and all hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

"It's not uncommon to find a problem, so we have time built in to fix and replace parts," said Major Laird. "That's the reason we take a couple months on each rocket; if it's not ready to go, we need to test it all out."

The 5th Space Launch Squadron is processing for four launches, including the Atlas V which will carry the National Reconnaissance Office Launch-30 satellite.

"We're on track for a mid-June launch of the Atlas V, followed up by the WGS launch in early to mid-August," said Lt. Col. Kent Nickle, 5th SLS director of operations.

The 5th SLS is also repairing the SLC 37 launch table, damaged Feb. 28 during a Wet Dress Rehearsal fueling test.

"The launch table repairs have started and are progressing," said Colonel Nickle. "While we're making repairs, we're also doing an analysis of the failure to see why the damage occurred."

Monday, April 23, 2007

U.S. Fleet Forces Prepares for HURREX ‘07

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Jerry Foltz, Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- As the Hampton Roads area prepares for the upcoming hurricane season, which runs from June 1 until Nov. 30, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (FFC) is taking a proactive approached to ensuring the safety of Sailors and their families by participating in Hurricane Exercise 2007 (HURREX 07).

The purpose of HURREX 07 is to provide ship and shore commands a focused training scenario to help with ship sorties, evacuation, emergency preparedness, personnel accountability, and recovery.

“The same weather conditions, that made last year a modest hurricane season, are not in place, giving us here an indication that the overall number of storms is going to be higher than average,” said Captain Archer Wright, FFCs Fleet Oceanographer and Meteorological Officer. “As storms threaten installations, commanding officers will be required to set conditions of readiness in their geographic area and all commands will be required to muster their personnel.”

The first part, the tracking and warning phase, will be conducted from April 23 through May 4. The second phase, requiring personnel accountability and family assessment, will be conducted April 23 through May 9.

“This exercise will enable the command to provide valuable resources to Sailors and their families to deal with a disaster situation,” said Wright.” It gives commands a chance to fine tune their emergency preparedness and procedures.”

HURREX will include four artificially constructed tropical systems that will develop and intensify to hurricane strength, affecting the Caribbean, East Coast and Gulf Coast regions.

Wright stated that in addition to FFC, several commands from the entire Eastern Seaboard will be participating.

"We want to able to test personnel accountability from Texas to Maine -- and all states and installations in between," he said.

As storms approach each region, a NAVADMIN will be released with an order to account for personnel, designating a start time for personnel accountability and family assessment procedures.

Wright stressed that Sailors should review command mustering procedures in addition to taking a closer look at personal readiness. Sailors should inform family members about the availability of emergency services in their region.

MT 2007 Airshow Guide Available Online

I am pleased to announce that my 2007 Monitoring Times Airshow Guide is now available for download on the MT website at

And I would like to again thank the dozens of reporters this last year who took the time to send us reports from the field and also encourage anyone attending an airshow this year to drop us some mail and let us know what you heard (even if we already have it on the list). We can't do this annual project without each of you.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Blue Angel Pilot Dies in Beaufort Crash

The Navy has officially announced that LCDR Kevin J. Davis (Callsign Kojack) was killed in an accident that occurred yesterday at MCAS Beaufort, SC. LCDR Davis flew the #6 opposing solo aircraft, as I previously reported, during Blues performances.

The aircraft crashed during the final minutes of an air show at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., at approximately 4 p.m. EDT, April 21.

The pilot of the jet was joining the Delta formation for the final maneuver of the aerial demonstration when the mishap occurred. It was his second year on the team, and first year as a demonstration pilot.

The other five Blue Angel jets were not involved in the incident and landed safely moments later.

The crash occurred approximately three miles outside the air station in the vicinity of Pine Grove Rd. and White Pine Rd. One civilian on the ground reported minor injuries and was transported to Beaufort Memorial Hospital. Some houses in the area received damage, the extent of which is unclear at this time.

The cause of the accident is currently under investigation. And the Blue Angel Performance Schedule has been suspended.

LCDR Kevin J. Davis Bio
Lieutenant Commander Kevin Davis was a native of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and graduated from Reading Memorial High School in 1992 where he played football and was active with the Civil Air Patrol. He attended Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science with honors in 1996.

Kevin reported to Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, for Officer Candidate School and aviation indoctrination in September 1996. He completed primary flight training at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, and transferred to NAS Meridian, Mississippi, for intermediate and advanced flight training. While there, he flew the T-2C Buckeye and TA-4J Skyhawk, and received his wings of gold in June 1999.

Kevin reported to Fighter Squadron 101 (VF-101) at NAS Oceana, Virginia, for training in the F-14 Tomcat and was the “Top Stick” in his class. In July 2000 he reported to the VF-11 “Red Rippers” where he completed deployments aboard the aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67). While with the “Red Rippers,” Kevin served as the airframes/corrosion branch officer, air-to-ground training officer and head landing signals officer. His deployments included extended operations in the North Arabian Sea and Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In July 2003, Kevin transitioned to the F/A-18 Hornet through Strike Fighter Squadron 125 (VFA-125) at NAS Lemoore, California, and then reported to the Fighter Composite Squadron (VFC-12) “Omars,” stationed at NAS Oceana, Virginia. While at VFC-12, Kevin served as a Navy adversary pilot providing valuable air-to-air training for fleet squadrons. In December of 2004, Kevin graduated from the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) as an adversary pilot. During his tour at VFC-12, Kevin worked as the schedules officer, legal officer, FRS/SFARP officer and assistant operations officer.

Kevin joined the Blue Angels in September 2005. He accumulated more than 2,500 flight hours and 200 carrier arrested landings. His decorations included the Air Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and various personal and unit awards.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Flash - Blue Angel Aircraft Crashes at Beaufort

According to CNN and FOX News, one of the Blue Angel (Blue Angel #6) aircraft has crashes at the Beaufort, SC, airshow. The Blues were in the Delta formation and the aircraft appeared to lose power and srop from the sky. According to CNN the pilot was killed. No more details available at this time. More to follow...

DXTuners - RIP

Editor's Note: It is with great saddness that I make this post to the blog about the closing of the DXTuners service on the internet. I have been a longtime user of this excellent service. Its closing is truly a big loss to the radio listening hobby. If you have never used this network of worldwide receivers, you missed an exciting part of the hobby that is now apparently gone forever. DXTuners provided me with countless hours of listening to all sorts of stations (analog and DRM, broadcast and utility), and some neat programs and transmissions that could not be heard here in the U.S., or at signal levels that would give me armchair copy.

To Kelly and all the hobbyists who provided their time, knowledge and equipment - 73 and farewell. May you always have fair skies and following seas.

So here is the message you get now when you click on the DXTuners link

Ystad, Sweden, 20 april 2007

Dear subscribers and guests. For the last 10 years I have been presenting Web Controlled receivers here at DxTuners.

I have worked constantly to maintain and supervise this network together with my dedicated crew who has put so much effort into it.

Regretfully, recently due to other business and personal commitments, I am unable to dedicate as much time or find as much inspiration as before in running the network and it is with much sadness and sincere regret that I have decided to wind up my business over here.

This has been a very difficult and emotional decision for me to take, having made many friends over the years, but after a good 20 years in the IT-business I feel the time is right to move on and try something else.

I have been trying to find other solutions to continue running DxTuners but I have found it too complex for anyone else to run without my help.

I would like to thank all my friends, subscribers and especially my dedicated crew who supported me over the years. I could not have done it without you guys.

Thank you all

Kelly Lindman

Friday, April 20, 2007

USS Carney Trains Trinidad & Tobago CG

By Ensign Rebecca Lawrence, USS Carney Public Affairs

USS Carney (DDG 64) welcomed aboard 13 members of the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG) on April 16 to participate in a series of training evolutions as part of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) theater security cooperation efforts.

Comprised of seamanship and maritime security exercises, this was the culminating event during Carney’s visit to Trinidad, while the ship is deployed under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command in the SOUTHCOM area of responsibility.

The TTCG Sailors embarked Carney to observe the ship getting underway. Upon completion of a towing exercise conducted with the TTCG vessel Crown Point, Carney’s Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) Team demonstrated hand-to-hand security techniques, boarding procedures and small boat operations.

TTCG Lt. Dane Daniel was the senior officer on board Carney for the exchange.

“It is always a good opportunity for us to work with foreign navies. When our Sailors get to interact and rehearse during exercises like these, it makes the actual in-theater cooperation much easier,” said Daniel.

Senior Chief Fire Controlman Ron Cagle, a senior member of Carney’s VBSS team, was also pleased with the execution of the exercise.

“Our teams use a lot of the same techniques,” he said. “The biggest difference in our forces is the mission we are trained to execute: Our focus is counter-terrorism, theirs is counter-narcotics.”

Carney, homeported in Mayport, Fla., is operating throughout the Caribbean area conducting similar theater security cooperation exercises that include community relations projects, military-to-military exchanges, diplomatic port visits and multinational training exercises.

Samuel B. Roberts, Latorre Participate in SNMG-1 PASSEX

By Ensign Christine Campbell, USS Samuel B. Roberts Public Affairs

USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) and Chilean Frigate CS Almiranty Latorre (FFG 14) participated in a multinational Passing Exercise (PASSEX) on April 8-9 with Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 1 in the Caribbean in support of Partnership of Americas (POA).

Other ships participating in the exercise included the USS Mahan (DDG 72), German Navy Frigate FGS Sachsen (F 219) and British Fast Fleet Tanker RFA Wave Ruler (A 390).

The exercise gave the opportunity to collaborate more closely with different nations and supports the U.S. Navy’s concept of a 1,000-ship navy which brings together maritime services to work toward common objectives of security and to improve overall interoperability.

With two days of continuous operations, the ships conducted a multitude of operations and training.

“The favorite event for Samuel B. Roberts’ bridge watch team was fleet maneuvers or division tactics (DIVTACS), where watchstanders from all ships were able to practice their ship-handling skills,” said Operations Specialist 1st Class Andrew Buckner.

DIVTACS training requires multiple ships underway in close proximity, which can be a rare opportunity.

In addition to ship handling, several exercises in establishing communications, testing reference skills, and passing tactical signals took place. The ships simulated anti-submarine scenarios and anti-air defense operations.

While conducting the anti-submarine operations the “Sammy B” utilized SH-60B helicopters, from Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (Light) 48, based in Mayport, Fla., to drop active and passive sonobouys against training targets.

The exercise culminated with the creation of a difficult formation called a starburst, in which all ships formed an arrowhead at 200-yards spacing from one another, and then broke off to all sides at a high rate of speed.

Ens. Paul O'Daniel, conning officer for the event, said he was impressed with the overall PASSEX.

“This formation was a challenge to accomplish but definitely shows cooperation of the navies during these exercises. The chance to work with the other navies and accomplish operational exercises was great,” said O'Daniel.

Battlefield technology key to Atlantic Strike V - Update

Photo: A "Condor" Unmanned Aerial Vehicle without its protective skin sits on top of its carrying case April 17 before flying in Atlantic Strike 5. Atlantic Strike is a joint forces semi-annual training event involving Joint Terminal Attack Controllers, or JTACs, from the Air Force Army and Marines at Avon Park Air Ground Training Complex, Avon Park, FL.(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Otero)

Editor's Note: Frequencies and callsigns associated with this exercise are at the end of this article. The RF spectrum profile below updated at 0952 EDT 20 April 2007

by By Staff Sgt. Amanda Savannah
U.S. Central Command Air Forces Public Affairs

4/19/2007 - AVON PARK, Fla. (AFNEWS) -- As the convoy travels down the dusty path, the lead Humvee's Joint Terminal Attack Controller zeroes in on a potential target 1,500 meters in front of him. He sends the coordinates to the waiting aircraft above.

"Target is verified JTAC, expending munitions." The aircraft releases its munitions precisely on target, decreasing collateral damage and allowing the convoy to continue on, unharmed.

Although not an actual account, scenarios like this one would not be possible in theater without technology such as the Remotely Operated Video Enhancement Receiver, or ROVER, and Venom, a remote-controlled, laser designator rangefinder telescoping mast system. Air Force, Marine Corps and Canadian Air Force JTACs are training on these and other battlefield technologies during Atlantic Strike V April 14-20 at the Avon Park Air Ground Training Complex in Avon Park, Fla.

ROVER can receive video and telemetry data from manned aircraft, remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles and the Venom system to display on a laptop or television monitor. The receive-only terminal can receive most Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance video from C, L and KU Band frequencies. This capability allows ground commanders to see around corners, over hills or on top of buildings -- providing critical battlefield situational awareness and targeting capability.

"The ROVER terminal gives JTACs the same aerial picture the aircraft sees," said Lisa Diamanti of L3 Communications, the company responsible for designing the ROVER system. "The JTACs on the ground need to see this picture to positively identify targets. This cuts down the talk-on-target time (from hours) to 10 minutes or less."

Before ROVER, JTACs had to have their eyes on the target and relied on verbal communication between themselves, aircraft and the Air Support Operations Center. JTACs would provide the target, which the ASOC then confirmed before the aircrew could execute.

Master Sgt. Craig Hillsman, an Air Force JTAC with the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Campbell, Ky., appreciates how the ROVER system "cuts out the middleman."

"The ability for JTACs to operate without (having to contact) forward (command and control) is great," he said. "It also expands my ability to do my job without putting myself in harm's way, because it gives me a bird's-eye view of the area instead of just line of sight. For example, I can spot a target individual and instead of giving away my position, I can watch (on the ROVER) the receiving aircraft follow him to a point a safe distance from me before engaging."

Northrop Grumman's Venom system will give JTACs even more of a chance for survival.

"With the growing need for up-armored Humvees, the military needed a system that would allow its occupants to stay under that armor while identifying targets," said Bob Raulerson, marketing manager for Northrop Grumman. Venom uses a Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder on a universal, stabilized platform that mounts on top of the vehicle and enables military members to observe targets during the day or night. The versatile system can be mounted on a mast that can be attached to any vehicle, Mr. Raulerson said.

If fitted with a ROVER transmitter, the Venom can send its images to ROVER systems, adding a line-of-sight image to the aerial image a JTAC receives from an aircraft. When in laser tracking mode, Venom also allows units to identify and lock on to a target while moving out of the area before the military members are discovered.

"I have also been told that some forward-operating bases are benefiting from mounting Venom on top of a building while the operator remains inside, out of harm's way," Mr. Raulerson said. "All in all, Venom will do more to ensure warfighters return home safely."

During a scenario involving a high-value target, the Army convoy commander parked the Venom system outside a village, adding another vantage point to his maneuvers. The convoy was able to engage enemy forces on the other side of the village, while monitoring buildings to avoid an unexpected flanking maneuver. The Venom system also allowed the ground commander to find a hidden sniper position -- a position only visible from the reverse angle the Venom system provided.

The mounting platform being tested at Atlantic Strike V is scheduled to be used in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in August.

Aircraft at Atlantic Strike V capable of transmitting full-motion video include the F-16 Fighting Falcons, A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, B-52 Stratofortresses, Navy P-3C Orions, the Condor and Swiper UAVs and Cessna aircraft simulating Unmanned Aerial Systems.

Here is a list of freqs/designators/callsigns that have been reported and are associated with Atlantic Strike V.

Atlantic Strike V Frequencies

126.150 Avon Park Range Control
131.825 COASTAL
133.475 COASTAL

138.050 FLYER interflight
138.125 Homestead ARB
138.200 FLYER interflight
138.400 Homestead ARB
139.750 Homestead ARB
139.800 Homestead ARB
143.625 WARHAWK

242.050 BLUE 1
258.100 LIGHTNING 22
264.625 Avon Park Range
269.250 Jax Center – Ocala Low
271.600 "SHERIFF NET" (convoys)
276.600 WARHAWK
279.600 Tampa App
281.500 Miami Center
283.700 MacDill AFB – BEAR CAVE (VAW-124) / BUCCANEER OPS (111th FW)
285.000 ORION / JAGUAR
285.725 Avon Park Range
291.600 Miami Center - Pahokee
292.200 Avon Park Range Control
297.500 FLYER air-air
303.150 Homestead ARB (also being used for air-air on the range)
306.000 P-3
349.000 Miami Center – Avon Park
349.300 BEAR / STARGATE (MOA check in freq)
354.400 STARGATE, BEAR 01, 02 / (STARGATE – DRAGNET VICTOR air-air)
379.400 Barksdale AFB 93rd BS (SCALP air-air)

Freq Designators:
BLUE 1 – 242.050
BLUE 2 – 258.100
BLUE 3 – 349.300
BLUE 5 – 271.600
BLUE 6 – 354.400
GREEN 5/11 – 133.475
YELLOW 1 – 264.625
YELLOW 3 - 285.725
WHITE 5 – 143.625
WHITE 7 – 276.600
WHITE 8 – 349.300 (also passed as BLUE 3)
WHITE 12 – 292.200
Satcom – (BEAR mentioned working WARHAWK on Satcom)

AKULA – F-16C+, 93rd FS
BEAR 01, 02 – E-2C, VAW-124
BUSHMASTER 17, 19, 20, 66 (20 Convoy JTAC)
COASTAL AIR – Cessna (simulated UAV)
COASTAL GROUND – ground support for UAV
FLYER – A-10A, 111th FW
JAGUAR ground support for P-3
HARDROCK 09, 10, 11
HORSEMAN 13, 14, 15
LIGHTNING 22, 23, 35 – JTAC
MAKO – F-16C+, 93rd FS
OMEGA 18, 68 (Convoy)
SCALP – B-52H, 93rd BS
SHARK – F-16C+, 93rd FS
SLAYER 03, 04
STARGATE – E-8C; 330th CTS

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

NSA NOLA Readies for Hurricane Season

Editor's Note: My personal blog, the Btown Monitoring Post (, will have extensive and continuing coverage during the hurricane season including active HF frequencies to monitor during these events. The season starts on June 1. Be sure to check the Btown Monitoring Post frequently for updates.

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Poe, Naval Support Activity New Orleans Public Affairs

NEW ORLEANS (NNS) -- More than 100 base and tenant command personnel from Naval Support Activity (NSA) New Orleans attended two days of briefings, hosted by NSA’s Emergency Management (EM) Team and the local Community Support Center (CSC), April 9-10 in preparation for the 2007 Gulf Coast hurricane season.

The briefings touched on varying subjects that apply to service members who may be ordered to evacuate the region, essential personnel who are ordered to stay behind to provide assistance, and things all personnel can do today to ensure readiness in the case of an actual emergency.

Lt. Cmdr. Neil Uemura, NSA’s EM officer, explained base instructions such as Condition of Readiness (COR) levels.

“COR 5 needs to be set on June 1 (the official start of hurricane season) and is the minimum standard throughout the summer,” said Uemura. “During COR 5, leaders should be doing things like posting a destructive weather bill and verifying recall lists, while everyone needs to be conducting thorough inspections of their spaces and reporting anything that may not be stable in the case of high winds.”

The COR Levels run from five to one with A and B variations for COR 3 to COR 1, depending on if the approaching storm is an official hurricane or just inclement weather. For example, if COR 1A is needed, that means a major hurricane is due to hit the New Orleans area within 12 hours. If this were to occur, non-essential personnel should already have departed the region and EM personnel should report to their designated Emergency Operations Center.

Whether they’re base personnel or tenant command service members, Uemura said the completion of all COR level responsibilities are to be reported to NSA’s EM to ensure a smooth line of communication.

In the case of an evacuation, Uemura also touched on things like Louisiana’s Contraflow system, an initiative shared with other storm-prone states which turns South Louisiana interstate highways into exit-only roads for efficient escape from a probable storm.

“New Orleans is in a precarious location with only one interstate running through it,” said Uemura. “It’s important to plan your evacuation route now and I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic by recommending you fill up your vehicle’s gas tank more frequently during hurricane season. Like we saw during [Hurricane] Katrina, if an evacuation is ordered, gasoline will undoubtedly be at a premium.”

As an example of lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, Uemura briefed the audience on NSA’s Continuity of Operation (COOP) Team. The COOP team is made of base personnel who will evacuate to Fort Worth, Texas, and be NSA’s eyes and ears in case conventional communication lines fail in New Orleans.

Though NSA tenant commands should have their own mustering procedure for evacuees, the COOP team has a toll-free phone number and an e-mail address for any evacuated NSA service member to contact them for accountability purposes. The COOP team will in turn be communicating with Navy Region Southeast (NRSE), NSA’s parent command, for up-to-the-minute status reports on the base and its service members.

While Uemura talked about operational-type needs for the base itself, CSC personnel spoke more about ways to prepare today in the case an evacuation is ordered.

A large part of CSC’s contribution to the briefs was the importance of proper finances in the face of a disaster. CSC recommends that service members have the minimum financial equivalent of three months worth of essential living expenses set aside in the case of an emergency. While three months' expenses is deemed adequate, they added that six months is more desirable.

In the case of an evacuation, individuals can find themselves on the road for an indefinite amount of time and the CSC recommended having a sufficient amount of cash on hand and possibly a credit card reserved for emergencies. They also added that a credit card should be a secondary resource because if telephone-type communications are down in a widespread area, businesses will most likely not be able to process credit cards and therefore not accept them for payment of goods and services.

The CSC distributed preparedness checklists to the audience which contained tasks such as photographing your household belongings, having tools like an axe or a working chainsaw on hand, making sure your vehicle is in good working order and to have a non-cordless telephone in the home in case wireless communication is ineffective like it was in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Service members aren’t unfamiliar with important training year-round, but Uemura said April’s hurricane awareness training was especially important because the risks involved in a New Orleans hurricane season have been a proven reality.

“There’s a lot of reasons we’re susceptible to storm danger,” said Uemura. “We’re on the coast of a body of water [Gulf of Mexico] that can get very warm in the summertime, which is what a hurricane feeds off of. We’re practically surrounded by water if you include the Mississippi River, our elevation is below sea level in a lot of places and we have limited routes of evacuation. It’s very important that we plan ahead so when ‘the rubber hits the road,’ we’re ready.”

NAS Jax Breaks Ground for New P-3C Hangar

By Mass Communications Specialist Second Class (SW/AW) Rebecca Kruck

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- A groundbreaking ceremony was held aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. on April 13 for a state-of-the-art aircraft hangar and facilities, which will upgrade the mission capabilities of the base.

The new hangar, which will stand at 277,000 sq. ft. once complete, will accommodate approximately 33 P-3C Orions and four C-130 Hercules aircraft from Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine. The project was initiated after the Base Realignment and Closure Committee (BRAC) ordered the closure of NAS Brunswick in 2005.

“This is a great day for NAS Jacksonville, a great day for Northeast Florida and a great day for our country because this event is a symbol of the bright future of NAS Jax,” said Rep. Ander Crenshaw, (R-Fla.), who spoke at the event. “When this groundbreaking takes place and the hangar is built, this will be the east coast home of all our marine patrolled aircraft, and that’s important not only to Jacksonville, but the national security of our country.”

“When this hangar is completed, it will be one of the Navy’s largest hangers. It will house 37 aircraft, 1,600 new personnel and that’s a big deal for our country," Crenshaw elaborated. "This is a $123 million project and I’m proud to be here today to be a part of this groundbreaking.”

“I’m excited to be a part of this event," said Jacksonville mayor, John Peyton. “I’m excited about the hangar, but I’m more excited about the people that are coming with it because they’re great citizens. They’re good neighbors, they coach our little leagues, they teach our Sunday schools, they’re patriots and they do great things for our workforce when they’re done serving here. It’s the people in the Navy that make this special relationship.”

Peyton said that he looks forward to welcoming the 2,500 families that will come to Jacksonville after the hangar opens in 2009.

Commanding Officer of NAS Jacksonville, Capt. Chip Dobson, mirrored Crenshaw’s comments about the future of the Navy.

“NAS Jacksonville is almost 67 years old and over the course of that time there have been many celebrations and ceremonies aboard the base," Dobson said. "This one is different because usually we’re recognizing people and accomplishments, but today we’re celebrating the future. This is future capability for NAS Jacksonville, future capability for the maritime patrol community and future capability for the U.S. Navy.”

This hangar represents only a portion of what is happening at NAS Jacksonville. According to Dobson, if one were to look down the base’s flight line alone, which is just over a mile, there is about a $250 million in recapitalization taking place.

Dobson also recognized a few key players who were instrumental in bringing construction of the new hangar to fruition.

“This has been a tremendous effort by a great team of people. We’re very excited about the team we’ve put together here,” he said.

Dobson recognized four people who have been instrumental to the project, NAS Jacksonville BRAC coordinator Freddy Byers; engineer and planning coordinator Jim Morgan; Navy Region Southeast Doug Mercer; and Vick Patton of Commander, Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk who has been involved in the construction of Navy hangars for a couple of decades.

The contractor for the project is M.A. Mortenson, based in Minneapolis, Minn.

Craig Southorn, the company's vice president said, “We began design work last fall and we look forward to the partnership we’ll have with the Navy and finishing this project safely and on a timely basis."

Once the speakers concluded, several officials picked up awaiting shovels to take part in the official groundbreaking. That group, along with Dobson and Southorn, included Rear Adm. Mark S. Boensel, commander, Navy Region Southeast; Rear Adm. B.C. Prindle, commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group; Capt. Sean Buck, commander, Patrol Reconnaissance Wing-Eleven; Capt. Michael Blount, commanding officer of Naval Facilities Command Southeast; Cmdr. Chuck Lewis, public works officer for NAS Jacksonville; Lt. Cmdr. Mary Ann Andrews; Lt. j.g. Zach Zimchek; Arthur Mosely; and Lt. Cmdr. Alexander Kohmen, the master of ceremonies for the event.

The ceremony was completed when Dobson manned a construction backhoe and sank the bucket into the ground. To the cheers of those in attendance, he excavated a load of fresh earth, slowly pouring it back onto the ground.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tarheel Unit Returns Home

The 145 Air Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard, flying the C-130 Hercules, has returned to their home base in Charlotte, NC. They were deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Photo: Master Sgt. James Holder directs a C-130 Hercules April 6 at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina. The plane and crew are assigned to the 145th Airlift Wing of the North Carolina Air National Guard, and was returning from a tour of duty in Afganistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)

New mission control room ready for F-35 flight tests

by Senior Airman Jason Hernandez, 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The newest range mission control room built to test the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was officially commissioned here April 11.

Combined with equipment installation and recent room certification, the range control room now provides the F-35 test team with the resources necessary to monitor the real-time performance of the aircraft during its test missions here.

The tests are conducted by the F-35 Integrated Test Force, which is composed of military, government civilian, contractor and foreign partner personnel, according to Steve Cronk, director of operations for the 412th Range Squadron.

"The control room allows us to deliver a better product to the warfighter sooner," he said. "The capability here provides us the ability to thoroughly test and evaluate the performance of the F-35 and find any problems with the aircraft long before we deliver it."

Officials say the new control room is unique in that it is entirely personal computer based. It is larger and capable of processing more information per second.

The 412th Range Squadron, part of the 412th Test Engineering Group, is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the JSF control room. The agency that completed the range acceptance certification procedure for the new range mission control room was the 412th Test Management Group.

According to Nancy Bergren, test support operations lead with the F-35 ITF, the new control room is actually one of the many control rooms that the range squadron uses here in the Ridley Control Center.

"Initially, we looked at the range's existing control rooms and determined there wasn't enough capacity to support the JSF," Ms. Bergren said.

Up to 40 flight test engineers from the F-35 ITF will work in the control room, Ms. Bergren said. Eight people on the range support the operations and maintenance of the control room.

During missions, the control room will receive telemetry data from the F-35 and video data from the range, Ms. Bergren said.

"The technology in this control room is state of the art in real-time data-processing capabilities," Mr. Cronk said. "When the JSF is full up and running, this control room will process about 250,000 parameters from the aircraft at 3 million samples per second. The F-22 had 120,000 parameters processed at about 1 million samples per second. So you can see how technology has improved in just a few years.

"We know everything that is happening on the aircraft," he said. "In the 250,000 measurements received from the aircraft, we can see stick positions, rudder positions, internal engine temperature, brake pressures and more. You name it, we see it all in the mission control room in real time. It is far more information than the pilot could ever possibly know while flying the aircraft."

Once a mission is over, the flight test engineers can access the data from their personal computers for a more detailed analysis, Mr. Cronk said. The data is electronically transferred down to the ITF's facility here, where it is put on a storage system.

"Because there is so much data coming from the aircraft in flight, we could not possibly look at all of it in real time," he said. "The engineers can go back and look at specific aspects of the test and get a better feel for the aircraft. In the future, the flight test team can compare data received 10 missions ago and compare it to present performance to see the changes and improvements they have made."

Edwards will have five F-35's permanently assigned here in the future for developmental testing and up to three Naval variants visiting, Ms. Bergren said.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

USAF MARS Frequencies are shifting - again!

From Tom Sevart (N2UHC) via Rachel Baughn, MT Editor:

"I thought you might be interested in this intercept of an AF MARS net in MFSK16 I copied tonight. Looks like AF MARS stations are going to change from using freqs ending in .1 and .6. From a new directive they're going to use logical freqs that end in .0 or .5."

From the MARS Broadcast:

R 101830 APR 2007


More on these changes when I get it. Thanks Tim for sharing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Exercise Phoenix Express Underway in Europe

Tug boats assist the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) as it departs Naval Station Norfolk. Nassau will be participating in a multi-national combined exercise with North African and European forces during exercise PHOENIX EXPRESS. The exercise will provide U.S. and allied forces an opportunity to participate in diverse maritime training scenarios helping to increase maritime domain awareness and strengthen emerging and enduring partnerships. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Patrick W. Mullen III)

Phoenix Express 2007, a two-week exercise designed to strengthen U.S. and European maritime partnerships with North Africa, began April 10.

Eleven nations will conduct multilateral training in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean to increase regional maritime awareness and improve maritime security and safety.

A comprehensive agenda will allow armed forces from Algeria, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States to enhance maritime and air capabilities. The series of challenging training scenarios is focused on developing the individual and collective maritime proficiencies of participating nations, as well as promoting friendship, mutual understanding and cooperation.

“Strengthening regional maritime partnerships allows us to address potential conflicts before they start, and awareness is the first step,” said Rear Adm. Jeff Fowler, U.S. 6th Fleet Deputy Commander. “We are committed to enhancing the awareness and maritime capability of our North African partners to help create an environment that is inhospitable to maritime criminals, extremists and terrorists.”

USS Nassau (LHA 4) and USS Kauffman (FFG 59), both homeported in Norfolk, will participate with Marines based in Rota, Spain, and Patrol Squadron (VP) 5 air assets based in Sigonella, Italy. The Military Sealift Command fleet oiler USNS Patuxent (TAO 201) will also provide valuable training during this annual exercise.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for Nassau and crew to build on unit-level training and increase our combat readiness in a multinational environment,” said Capt. John Roberti, Nassau commanding officer. “We are looking forward to operating with our regional partners.”

Exercise Phoenix Express 2007 will take place until April 24 primarily in Rota, Cadiz, Spain, and the Gulf of Cadiz.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Joint STARS exceeds 23,000 flight hours

The 128th Expeditionary Air Command and Control Squadron Joint STARS have been flying missions over Iraq from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing since 2003. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. David Miller)

The 128th Expeditionary Airborne Command and Control Squadron, one of three operational Joint Surveillance Target Attacks Radar System squadrons, recently reached a milestone of 23,000 flight-hours by flying missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Beginning on Jan. 16, 2003, the JSTARS aircraft crews flew missions for Operation Southern Watch and then OIF. They were first deployed to Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia and RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, and in May 2003 were relocated to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing.

Flying more than a dozen command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions per week, with an average of 10-12 hours per mission, the JSTARS have maintained a constant presence in the skies over Iraq.

"Reaching this milestone shows the reliability, sustainability and dependability of this low density/high demand platform and the commitment of the aircrews, maintainers and support personnel to meet combatant commanders' C2ISR requirements for the long haul," said Lt. Col. Joseph Richardson, 128th EACCS director of operations.

The JSTARS primary mission is to provide theater ground and air component commanders with ground surveillance to support attack operations and targeting that contributes to the delay, disruption and destruction of enemy forces.

The unit flies E-8Cs, which are modified Boeing 707-300 series commercial airframes extensively remanufactured and modified with the radar, communications, operations and control subsystems required to perform its operational mission. The unit has 17 E-8Cs valued at $366 million each.

"The E-8C is a theater level C2ISR asset that provides highly mobile, flexible, and survivable wide area ground surveillance with the ability to detect and track moving and stationary ground targets, day or night, in almost any weather," Colonel Richardson said.

The JSTARS organization, assigned to the 116th Air Control Wing, Robins AFB, Ga., is unique because it's the only blended "Total Force" wing in the Air Force.

"Our home wing is composed of both active duty and Air National Guard Airmen as well as our U.S. Army soldiers, blended into a coherent fighting force," said Colonel Richardson. "This flying achievement represents the total commitment of our blended, joint aircrews as well as the dedicated professional support of our maintenance personnel and our computer support professionals."

Many crew members have deployed several times in support of the JSTARS mission and have watched the flight hours accumulate.

Since 2003, I've flown over 75 missions in support of OIF/OEF," said Maj. Dennis Dickerson, 128th EACCS mission crew commander. "The JSTARS is still relatively new to the inventory, and we are literally finding out more capabilities on a daily basis. As these capabilities are discovered, the demand for our platform has skyrocketed. Thus, our Airmen can deploy up to 180 days a year and fly over 720 combat sortie hours in that time."

USS Pearl Harbor Steams Through Panama Canal

After a brief port visit to Vasco Nunez de Balboa, dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) awaits entry into the Mira Flores Locks during her transit through the Panama Canal. Pearl Harbor is underway in support of Partnership of the Americas (POA) 2007. POA will focus on enhancing relationships with regional partner nations through a variety of exercises and events at sea and on shore throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Damien Horvath)

Ronald Reagan CSG Concludes 7th Fleet Ops

Off the port side of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), center, JS Myoko (DDG 175), right, and JS Hamagiri (DD 155) move into position to participate in a photo exercise (PHOTOEX) between the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF). Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14, is deployed in support of operations in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Burden)

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 concluded military operations as part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 7, in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) on April 6.

The more than 6,000 Sailors assigned to the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group deployed Jan. 27 under the Navy’s Fleet Response Plan (FRP), which provides the U.S. the ability to respond globally to a wide range of situations, on short notice, with flexible and sustainable forces.

Demonstrating the commitment of the United States to peace, security and stability in the Pacific region, the Ronald Reagan strike group deployed to the Western Pacific while USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), the Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier, underwent scheduled maintenance in Yokosuka, Japan.

"The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group performed a key role in providing stability in the Western Pacific region during its surge deployment,” said Vice Adm. Doug Crowder, U.S. 7th Fleet Commander. “I am very impressed with the high level of readiness the strike group showed working with Japanese and Korean naval forces. These Sailors are great ambassadors for the United States."

Rear Adm. Charles W. Martoglio, Commander of the Ronald Reagan Strike Group was also pleased with the performance of the strike group.

“Our strike group made a significant, positive contribution to our relationships with friends, allies and coalition partners as well as improved the readiness of our forces to meet the broad array of challenges in the maritime environment,” said Martoglio. “We value the close relationship with our friends in this part of the world and we work very closely to address regional issues of vital importance to us all.”

During their time in the 7th Fleet AOR, the Ronald Reagan Strike Group participated in joint exercises with the Republic of Korea as well as the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. The ship also hosted numerous distinguished visitors from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Capt. Terry B. Kraft, Ronald Reagan’s commanding officer, added, “The officers and crew of Ronald Reagan were able to accomplish every mission while in the 7th Fleet AOR and were good ambassadors at each and every port call.”

According to Capt. Richard Butler, commander, CVW-14, the embarked air wing maintained an intense flight schedule while the carrier strike group was operating in the 7th Fleet AOR.

“The air wing, comprised of some of the most advanced aircraft in the world, is an example of naval airpower that can be quickly relocated to support U.S. interests and our allies in the region,” said Butler. “Our focus each day was to keep the best-trained aircrews and best-maintained aircraft ready to execute missions when called upon.”

While in the region, the Reagan strike group also made three port calls: Sasebo, Japan; Hong Kong; and Busan, Republic of Korea. During the port visits, the Sailors enjoyed the local culture, purchased souvenirs, and hundreds volunteered their time in various orphanages, homes for the elderly, and assisted living centers for the disabled.

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is comprised of CVW-14, DESRON-7, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), the guided-missile destroyers USS Russell (DDG 59) and USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), and Explosives Ordnance Disposal Unit 11, Det. 15.

The squadrons of CVW-14 include the “Redcocks” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, the “Fist of the Fleet” of VFA-25, the “Stingers” of VFA-113, the “Eagles” of VFA-115, the “Black Eagles” of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the “Cougars” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 139, the “Providers” of Carrier Logistics Support (VRC) 30, and the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4.

The 7th Fleet AOR includes more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans -- stretching from the international date line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.

More than half of the world's population lives within the 7th Fleet AOR. In addition, more than 80 percent of that population lives within 500 miles of the oceans, which means this is an inherently maritime region.

Commissioned in July 2003, Ronald Reagan is the ninth and newest Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The ship is named for the 40th U.S. president; its motto, “Peace through Strength,” was a recurrent theme during the Reagan presidency.

First EA-18G Growler Lands at Whidbey Island

By Mass Communication 1st Class (AW) Bruce McVicar, Fleet Public Affairs Center Det Northwest
An EA-18G Growler lands at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island for the first time. The Growler is being developed to replace the fleet's current carrier-based EA-6B Prowler. The next-generation electronic attack aircraft, for the U.S. Navy, combines the combat-proven F/A-18 Super Hornet with a state-of-the-art electronic warfare avionics. The EA-18G is expected to enter initial operational capability in 2009. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bruce McVicar)

For my friends on the PDX Milcom List

An airborne electronic attack aircraft, EA-18G “Growler,” made its first appearance in the Pacific Northwest at Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island (NASWI), April 9.

The Growler combines the capabilities of the F/A-18F Super Hornet with the EA-6B Prowler and will provide next-generation electronic attack capability to the joint war fighter. The arrival marks the first time fleet air crewmen and maintenance men will get to lay their hands on the new platform concept jet.

“This is an exciting day,” said Capt. Tom Tack, commander, Electronic Attack Wing, Pacific Fleet. “We’re getting a glimpse of the future. This airplane will not only benefit the service members, but the taxpayers because it is easier to maintain.”

The Growler can achieve optimum speeds of Mach 1.8 and capable of offensive electronic jamming, electronic emissions detection, classification and monitoring, and electronic suppression of enemy air defenses. Along with being a state of the art weapon system, it also is economic by retaining 90 percent common parts with the Super Hornet, while reducing the operational crew from four to two.

“This plane represents the future of the Electronic Attack community,” said Lt. Cmdr. Paul Jennings, officer in charge of the EA-18G fleet introduction team (FIT). “It will provide electronic attack protection for all forces with its improved capabilities and upgraded and advanced airframe.”

FIT facilitated the transition from the EA-6B to the E/A-18G by setting up the training and maintenance program and provided feedback to the manufacturer. Aviation Structural Mechanic Senior Chief (AW) Raymond Hamilton of the team said they were proud to of the work done to prepare for the Growler’s arrival.

“There is already a supply chain out in place throughout the world,” said Hamilton. “It is good to finally see all of our hard work pay off.”

The E/A-18G is the Navy's replacement for the EA-6B as it enters it’s forth decade of service. Service members of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 are tasked with laying the ground work, facilitation upgrades and providing simulator training.

“People are excited about the arrival of the Growler, because it is new,” said Operation’s Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Jonathan Fields, NASWI range and schedule department leading petty officer. “Some of the service members may be sad to see the Prowler go, but they are looking forward to see some of the advancements in the Growler.”

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Skynet 5A Frequencies Published

Skynet 5A is the first of the new generation of British military communications satellites. It was launched on March 11, 2007 by Arianne Space. Skynet 5A is located at its operational slot at 1 degree West. You can find the latest frequency information including S-band TT&C and SHF satcom frequencies at Thanks to Mr. Paul J. Marsh and all the gang at for the heads up on this new military satellite.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

CNIC Prepares for Upcoming Hurricane Season

By Ed Wright, Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Hurricane Season, which begins on June 1 and runs until Nov. 30, is once again approaching and the need for accountability and safety of personnel is a Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) top priority.

CNIC has joined together with Fleet Forces Command (FFC) in Norfolk to participate in Hurricane Exercise 07 (HURREX 07).

“HURREX 07 is a full-spectrum event flexing our installation and family disaster preparedness," said Capt. Ray Pietrzak, CNIC disaster preparedness officer. "[We will be] testing personnel accountability from Texas to Maine -- and all states and installations in between -- and exposing as many individuals as possible to the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System."

Pietrzak further stressed that commands need to stay alert to Naval Administration (NAVADMIN) messages and related e-mails pertaining to the exercise, which is divided into two parts.

The first part, the tracking and warning phase, will be conducted from April 23 through May 4. The second phase, requiring personnel accountability and family assessment, will be conducted April 23 through May 9.

The HURREX phases will consist of four artificially constructed tropical systems that will develop and intensify to hurricane strength, threatening the Caribbean, East Coast and Gulf Coast regions.

“There will be several instances for the requirement to muster and account for all Navy family members in the declared affected areas as three simulated hurricanes will be generated and move through the entire Eastern Seaboard,” said Pietrzak.

The objective of HURREX 07 is to provide, “a focused training event to afloat and shore-based commands with hurricane threat scenarios for use in exercising sortie, evacuation, emergency preparedness, personnel accountability, and recovery and consequence management procedures,” according to an FFC directive announcing the exercise.

“Geographic areas of interest (GAOI’s) will be established based on exercise storm tracks. As the storms threaten installations, at various times there will be multiple GAOI’s established, installation commanding officers will be required to set conditions of readiness in their geographic area and all commands will be required to confirm status and whereabouts of their personnel for each area separately,” said Pietrzak.

As the exercise storms approach each geographic area, a NAVADMIN will be released with an order to account for personnel, based on the GAOI, and will designate a start time for personnel accountability and family assessment procedures. Each GAOI will be available in the electronic muster tool at the start time listed for 72 hours, or three working days.

A goal of 100 percent accountability for all assigned personnel in a declared affected area is CNIC’s overall expectation, according to Pietrzak.

CNIC hosted an Emergency Preparedness/Personnel Accountability Conference on April 4 and 5 to announce the systems, preparation and processes in place for the upcoming hurricane season.

“The Disaster Preparedness/Personnel Accountability Conference will bring [together] emergency managers and personnel accountability representatives from Navy regions, installations, and other supported and supporting commands to obtain the latest information and guidance with regard to Navy family readiness topics," said Pietrzak prior to the conference. "We all must be ready to act and respond smartly.”

CNIC is preparing a new Navywide public awareness campaign titled “Operation Prepare.”

“CNIC is launching a public awareness campaign this spring to encourage individual and family preparedness for all types of natural and man-made emergencies. Staying informed, developing a plan, and making an emergency kit is the theme of this initiative, so that all personnel will be prepared to respond in the event of an emergency," said Pietrzak. "Information packets will be strategically located at Personnel Support Detachments, Commissaries, Base Housing Offices, and Fleet and Family Service Centers.”

There are three main themes to remember for family emergency preparedness, added Pietrzak. “Be informed, have a plan and make a kit.”

New combat squadron stands up at Little Rock

The 41st Airlift Squadron became the newest unit of the 463rd Airlift Group at Little Rock Air Force Base in a ceremony April 6 as well as being named the first active-duty combat C-130J Hercules squadron in the Air Force.

The 41st AS moved here from Pope AFB, N.C., due to the Base Realignment and Closure process.

The Airmen of the 41st AS, known as the Black Cats, bring a distinguished history to the base as the third oldest and one of the most highly decorated airlift squadrons in U.S. military history.

The squadron's move is the first major change the base has experienced as a result of the latest round of BRAC recommendations.

Amongst a sea of Airmen, distinguished visitors, past 41st AS commanders and extended family, Lt. Col. Daniel Tulley assumed command.

During the next six months, the 41st AS will focus on moving in, qualifying aircrews and increasing readiness, Colonel Tulley said.

The 41st AS brings 155 Airmen and 16 C-130Js aircraft. The squadron will gain 15 more in the future.

The C-130 primarily performs the tactical portion of the Air Force's airlift mission. The 463rd Airlift Group has recently been credited with replacing more than 5,500 convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan with the older C-130E and C-130H3 aircraft. The C-130 is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for air dropping troops and equipment into hostile areas.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Wright Patterson AFB Trunk System Update

Our original profile of the Wright-Patterson AFB was posted to this blog on July 10, 2006. Now according to Mark Meece on the Milcom newsgroups reports that the system has now been narrowbanded. Here is the new information from Mark.

System: Motorola Type II Mixed Mode (3600 baud)
Motorola System ID: 2b1c
Base Frequency: 406.350 MHz, Spacing: 12.5-kHz, Offset: 380
Frequencies: 408.7625 408.9625 409.1625c 409.3625 409.5625 409.9625 410.1625 410.3625 410.5625 410.7625

Based on so information we have been told off the record the talkgroups from the old analog system are being used on this new mixed mode (analog/digital) system. Additional field reports to confirm this would be appreciated.

16 Patterson Ground
48 Unknown user/usage
112 Civil Engineering – Housing
144 Unknown user/usage
176 Crash Crews
208 Hazardous Material?
272 Fire Ground
336 Unknown user/usage
368 Fire – crosspatch to 154.280 MHz
400 Unknown user/usage
432 Unknown user/usage
496 Base Operations
528 U.S. Air Force Museum
560 Unknown user/usage
592 Fire/Medic 1
624 Unknown user/usage
656 Fire Ground
688 Fire Ground
720 Unknown user/usage
752 Civil Engineering
816 Civil Engineering – Grounds
944 Transportation
976 Fuel Control
1008 88 Air Base Wing Flight Line
1040 Security car to car
1072 Flight Line
1136 Flight Line
1200 Unknown user/usage
1232 Supply
1584 Unknown user/usage (heard Charlie 3, Cobra 1 on weekend)
2352 Medical Net?
2384 Unknown user/usage
2480 Bio Net
2512 Unknown user/usage
2640 Unknown user/usage
2704 Unknown user/usage
3216 445 Airlift Wing Aircraft Maintenance
3248 Nightwatch Net (E-4B system)
3280 445 Air Wing Aeromed?
7568 Unknown user/usage
8016 Security 1
8048 Security 2
8080 Security 3
9776 Unknown user/usage
9808 Unknown user/usage
9840 Unknown user/usage
9904 Commo
10000 Unknown user/usage
10064 Unknown user/usage
10128 Unknown user/usage
10224 Civil Engineering
10320 Unknown user/usage – testing radios
10352 Unknown User Maintenance
10640 Civil Engineering
10672 445 Air Wing
10736 Unknown user/usage – testing radios
10800 Civil Engineering
10928 Civil Engineering
10960 Fire
11008 Unknown user/usage
11024 Security Tactical
11056 Security Tactical
11088 Security Tactical
11216 Transportation
11248 445 Air Wing
11280 445 Air Wing Aircraft Maintenance
11312 Flight Line Operations

E-3 Sentry celebrates 30 years in Air Force's fleet

by Polly Orcutt, 552nd Air Control Wing Public Affairs

An E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control system aircraft, known as AWACS, lands at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., March 23 after completing a mission. The first E-3 touched down at Tinker exactly 30 years to the day and began an new era for air surveillance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stacy Fowler)

It all started 30 years ago -- March 23, 1977, to be exact -- when the first E-3 Sentry touched down on Oklahoma soil. The arrival of aircraft tail number 75-0557 began a new era for the 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing, and for air surveillance.

To celebrate the occasion, wing officials conducted an arrival ceremony the next day and invited the base and local community leaders to help welcome the new aircraft.

The story of the E-3 goes back to April 1975, when a systems integration demonstration was conducted on several E-3 prototypes and the decision was made to produce the aircraft flown today. The E-3 replaced the EC-121D Super Constellation.

In August 1975, four E-3 aircraft completed a 16-month test period at the Air Force Test and Evaluation Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and engineering and test evaluations began on the E-3 aircraft at Tinker.

These events led up to the E-3 achieving "Initial Operational Capability" on April 16, 1978.

By the end of 1981 the wing had received 25 aircraft and had flown missions to assist in apprehending drug smugglers in Florida;, deployed four E-3As and more than 200 personnel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in support of European Liaison Force-One, known as ELF-One; and while on scramble over Iceland, located and saved a lost civilian aircraft.

An E-3 also completed an around-the-world mission. During the flight, the E-3 touched down in Alaska, Hawaii, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and the Azores.

During the 1980s, E-3s continued to fly ELF-One missions. The final two E-3s returned from Saudi Arabia on April 16, 1989, marking the end of the ELF-One commitment. The 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing logged more than 6,000 sorties and 87,000 flying hours in eight and a half years during ELF-One.

The E-3 achieved "Full Operational Capability" in June 1984 when Air Force officials accepted delivery of the final aircraft. The 961st AWACS at Kadena AB, Japan, was activated on May 23, 1980, and the 962nd AWACS at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, on July 1, 1986.

The 1990s took the Sentry back to Asia. On Jan. 17, 1991, Airmen began flying in support of Operation Desert Storm, the war with Iraq.

Aircrews from the 552nd AWACW flew 7,314.7 combat hours during Desert Storm, with a combined 91.36 percent mission-capable rate. They controlled 31,924 strike sorties, where 88,500 tons of munitions were dropped, without losing a single Allied aircraft in air-to-air action. In addition, E-3s controlled 20,401 aerial refueling sorties. The aerial tankers off-loaded 178.4 million gallons of fuel to 60,543 receivers. Furthermore, 552nd AWACW Airmen also assisted in 39 of 41 Allied air-to-air shoot downs during Desert Storm.

Throughout the 1990s, the E-3 also provided support to NATO operations Provide Comfort and Southern Watch.

The first and only crash of an Air Force E-3 occurred at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, Sept. 22, 1995. The E-3, tail number 77-0354 and call sign Yukla-27, crashed during take-off and 22 Airmen and two Canadian air force crewmembers lost their lives in the crash.

Air Force officials later determined that geese had been ingested into the engines of Yukla 27 during takeoff, causing the aircraft to crash.

In April 2001, 552nd Air Control Wing Airmen celebrated the 10th anniversary of the signing a cease-fire agreement while patrolling the no-fly zone over the skies of Iraq.

During operations Northern and Southern Watch, the 552nd ACW had more than 250 support personnel on location at any given time.

On Sept. 11, 2001, 552nd ACW aircrews were directed by higher headquarters to patrol the skies over the eastern quadrant of the United States following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The 552nd was one of the first units tasked by the North American Aerospace Defense Command to protect the airspace over North America. These sorties are still flown under Operation Noble Eagle.

Ten days later, the wing received deployment orders to support Operation Enduring Freedom.

In October, five aircraft and 180 NATO personnel deployed from Geilenkirchen, Germany, to Tinker for Operation Eagle Assist. This was the first time in the 52-year history of NATO this alliance has been used to defend the United States. In January 2002, two more NATO aircraft deployed to Tinker.

By February 2002, E-3 crews had flown 14,000 Operation Noble Eagle sorties. In May, the NATO AWACS aircraft returned home.

By October of that year, crews of the 552nd reached a significant milestone, logging 10,000 flying hours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The accomplishment was achieved by the 968th Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Squadron deployed to Central Asia. The unit has been supporting OEF since the end of September 2001.

Between May 28 and June 8, 2003, 552nd ACW personnel deployed in support of OEF and Operation Iraqi Freedom returned to Tinker AFB. Sentry crews provided 24-hour surveillance of OIF and OEF battle space. They supported OEF from Sept. 27, 2001, to May 23, 2003, and flew 1,259 sorties totaling 15,713 hours. Crews flew OIF missions from March 19 to June 8, 2003, during that time they flew 313 sorties totaling 3,115 hours.

The return of personnel and aircraft to Tinker ended a 13-year continuous presence in the region. For the first time in the 25-year history of the E-3, all 28 aircraft were at home station. And after almost four years on home station, E-3 crews are, once again, forward deploying in support of OEF and OIF.

The mission of the E-3 continues to grow and change. Aircraft and personnel now deploy to Manta, Ecuador, to support civil law enforcement agents in stopping the flow of illegal drugs from Latin America into the United States and Canada.

The E-3 also flies missions around the world to aid in the security of the president of the United States and assists federal agencies in relief efforts, such as those in the devastated areas of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The wing flew 30 sorties totaling 276 flying hours coordinating relief efforts of both civilian and military aircraft.

Whether surveying the skies over the United States, or over land and sea around the world, the E-3 remains America's eye in the sky.

This is a mission the E-3 Sentry has done for 30 years. With continued upgrades these aircraft will continue to effectively perform for many years to come.

Thunderbirds fly over California

The Air Force Thunderbird Delta formation goes vertical while performing the Delta Loop during a March 31 air show at Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, Calif. The pilots perform approximately 30 maneuvers in a demonstration. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)

Raptor fly over California

The F-22 Raptor performs for thousands during an April 1 air show at Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, Calif. This F-22 is based at Langley Air Force Base, Va. The F-22 is the Air Force's newest fighter aircraft. The sophisticated F-22 aerodesign, advanced flight controls, thrust vectoring, and high thrust-to-weight ratio provide the capability to outmaneuver all current and projected aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt Justin D. Pyle)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Georgia Military HF ALE Net Update

Marat Ronin has passed along the following update to our Georgia Military HF ALE Net published on this blog last month.

4070.0 Georgia Military GS1/MB1 Net ALE/USB. Frequency needs to be changed 4075.0

Thanks Marat for passing along that update and I have changed all the previous list on this blog to reflect that change.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Shaw AFB Trunk Radio System Uncovered

My longtime friend Mac McCormick ( has now confirmed which base one of my previously unidentified VHF high band military trunk radio system is coming from. Here is what Mac passed along last weekend:

"Some months ago when I took a trip to Columbia, Larry Van Horn sent me some frequencies to try on a VHF TRS that was either at Shaw or McEntire; the location was unknown at that time. During the Columbia trip, VHF conditions were such that it was difficult to determine proximity. On my trip today (March 31), however, I was able to determine that it was at Shaw and was able to determine the settings and monitor it some. "

Shaw AFB TRS 9600 Baud Motorola
Base Freq: 162.0000, Step: 12.5 kHz, Offset: 380

163.4625 Control Channel (9600 baud)
165.0125 Digital Voice
165.1875 Digital Voice
165.2250 Digital Voice
165.4125 Digital Voice
166.0000 Digital Voice
166.2250 Digital Voice

20 Unknown-ref to personnel not in uniform going to "the 79th side"
21 Unknown
25 Police? - SHAW wkg DELTA #, references to "the sub-station" (these just "sounded" like law enforcement
28 Squadron talkgroup?-unid passing aircraft maintenance codes, reference to sending someone to "the 79th side" (probably related to similar traffic on TG 20)
34 Tower/Ground Control?-BARRIER MAINTENANCE wkg SHAW TOWER, -unid ref switching runways
42 POL?-unid ref "amount needed" for aircraft 907

Thanks Mac for taking the time to check my hunch. And I will have more on this and other new military trunk radio systems in my June 2007 MT Milcom column.

2007 MT Airshow Guide Available Online

I am pleased to announce that my 2007 Monitoring Times Airshow Guide is now available for download on the MT website at

And I would like to again thank the dozens of reporters this last year who took the time to send us reports from the field and also encourage anyone attending an airshow this year to drop us some mail and let us know what you heard (even if we already have it on the list). We can't do this annual project without each of you. So have fun out there and good hunting.

EADS - It's Official Now?

Editors Note: I am still trying to get this story nailed down. Lots of unanswered email and phone calls. It is a funny situation. Almost as if they weren't ready for the changeover to the EADS when they did away with the SEADS. So when will NORAD make EADS official?

While their website my not be up-to-date, it looks as though the NORAD NEADS term is no longer used and the long anticpated name change has occurred at some level. This morning while checking for updates on this story I found this on the NORAD CONUS Region webpage (

Continental NORAD Region (CONR)

A component of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the Continental NORAD Region (CONR) provides airspace surveillance and control and directs air sovereignty activities for the continental United States (CONUS).

Since Sept. 11, 2001, CONR has been the lead agency for Operation Noble Eagle, an ongoing mission to protect the continental United States from further airborne aggression from inside and outside of U.S. borders.

CONR is presently divided into two defense sectors: the Western Defense Sector, with its headquarters located at McChord Air Force Base, Wash.; and the Eastern Defense Sector, with its headquarters located at Rome, N.Y.

Co-located with Headquarters First Air Force (Air Forces Northern) at Tyndall AFB, Fla., a Combined Air Operations Center coordinates CONR sector activities and executes the NORAD air sovereignty mission for the continental United States. First Air Force (AFNORTH) plans, conducts, controls, and coordinates all Air Force forces for the NORAD-NORTHCOM Commander. The best of America's fighter inventory, the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Fighting Falcon, fly as CONR’s primary weapons systems.

First Air Force is comprised of 10 aligned Air National Guard fighter wings, but gains additional fighter wings as needed. With the transfer of responsibility for continental air defense from the regular component of the Air Force to the Air National Guard, First Air Force became the first numbered air force to be made up primarily of citizen airmen.

CONR is one of three NORAD regions. The two other regions are the Canadian NORAD Region (CANR), with its headquarters located at Canadian Forces Base, Winnipeg, and the Alaskan NORAD Region (ANR), with its headquarters located at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. NORAD is the bi-national Canadian and American command that employs a network of space-based, aerial and ground-based sensors, air-to-air refuelling tankers and fighter aircraft, controlled by a sophisticated command and control network to deter, detect and defend against aerial threats that originate outside or within North American airspace.