Friday, November 21, 2008

Breaking News - Grand Forks AFB to get HF-GCS Comm Site Next Year

Milcom Monitoring Post Exclusive (copyright © 2008 by Teak Publishing)

Blog editor note: This blog entry marks a very important event in the history of the HF-GCS radio network for radio monitors. Some time next year, as you around the primary HF-GCS freqs, you may hear Grand Forks AFB up testing or even assume the role of HF-GCS NCS, similiar to what Offutt and McClellan does now. Here is the official story from the USAF.

The 130-person 319th Communications Squadron at Grand Forks AFB is busy preparing the base for a new critical project for the entire Air Force.

The High Frequency Global Communications System is a highly-automated communications system that links Air Force command and control aircraft to other airborne and ground-based command nodes via high frequency communications around the globe.

Currently, HFGCS is operated by communications technicians at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C. Last year, Air Mobility Command officials selected Grand Forks AFB to take on responsibilities as the system's alternate control station.

The "new mission will task us with the responsibility of supporting the airborne communications system used by the White House, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other major commands around the globe," said Lt. Col. Sam Bass, the 319th Communication Squadron commander.

To prepare for this mission, base officials started a sizable facility renovation project to house the sophisticated support computers and will soon have dozens of high-speed communications circuits installed.

"The new circuits will ensure reliable connectivity to antenna locations around the world to provide secure data and voice connections to command and control aircraft." said Staff Sgt. Russell Mullens of the 319th CS Plans and Resources Flight.

When the alternate control station becomes operational in 2009, Grand Forks AFB communicators will ensure that national leadership flying around the world will be able to communicate securely.