Tinker and Fort Sill join forces to improve ground to air communication

Fort Sill_The Air Force has landed at Fort Sill, and they're working with the 652 Air Defense Artillery Battalion for a two-week joint exercise.  Tinker Air Force Base's Third Combat Communications Squadron is helping soldiers improve their long distance communication between troops.  It will improve their accuracy in hitting targets and keeping friendly forces safe.

Tuesday, soldiers and airmen, at Forward Operation Base Hamilton, were setting up all the equipment that will be linked together.  Since the Air Defense Artillery School is coming to Fort Sill soon, their timing couldn't be better.  The Air Force rolled in to Fort Sill to set up one of two radio systems that will change the way the Army goes to war.

Fort Sill Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Ardice Scott and half of the soldiers of the 652 are working on post with airmen from Tinker Air Force Base so they can talk to the rest of the battalion.  "What you see today happening is how we would fight in the future, how we plan to fight in the future," says Scott.  "You have soldiers and airmen here on the ground at Fort Sill, soldiers and airmen on the ground at Tinker Air Force Base.  And, we're all linking into an air platform and we're going to see what we can see - see if we can do this." 

The Air Force's Track 170 Radio is designed to bounce information off the atmosphere to the other receiver.  "Between the two, they're going to talk to each other and hopefully hook these guys up to the other battalion," says Scott.  Together, they'll both get a better picture of what's in the air, and what's on the ground.

This is the first joint training of its kind, and the Army and Air Force both say it will change the way they look at war.  "With the Air Force and the Army coming together, you're talking about extending the ability to talk, about extending the ability to see, and extending the ability to kill the target," Scott says.

"There's no more 'Big Sky, Little Bullet.'  We don't fight that.  We don't have that mindset.  We want to see what we're firing onto, just as they want to see what we're firing onto," he says.  "And that's the beauty of this.  You're bringing two different services together, with how they're going to fight in the future." 

One hurdle the two branches must overcome, though, is the different computer systems.  But, they say, after the two-week exercise, each soldier and airman will be able to speak each other's computer language.  Fort Sill says this training will set a foundation for the new Air Defense Artillery Training Center coming to the post.