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Air Force experiments to expedite kill chain, improve battle management

  • Published
  • By 505th Command and Control Wing Public Affairs
  • 505th Command and Control Wing

The 705th Combat Training Squadron recently hosted the second virtual Tactical Operations Center – Light experiment iteration in their Distributed Mission Operations Center, or DMOC, at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.

“Twenty-first century large-scale warfare requires our forces to adapt quickly on-the-move,” said Col. Frank Klimas, 505th Command and Control Wing, Detachment 1 commander, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The TOC-L event was designed to continue U.S. Air Force development of future battle management concepts intended to expedite kill chains and improve distributed control.

photo of a large group of military members in front of building that says 942 Distributed Mission Operations center

Air Force experiments to expedite kill chain, improve battle management

U.S. Air Force air battle managers and tactical air control party, or TACP, Airmen traveled to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico from across Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces, and U.S. Air Forces in Europe to participate in the experiment, July 28. The event was the second experiment executed at the DMOC and focused on building and capturing tactics, techniques, and procedures, or TTPs, of the USAFE inspired Agile Control Integration Team while concentrating on integrating additional TOC-L mission sets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Deb Henley)

Air battle managers and tactical air control party, or TACP, Airmen traveled to Kirtland from across Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces, and U.S. Air Forces in Europe to participate in the experiment.

A TOC-L is purposed lightweight, scalable battle management system that enables tactical C2 elements to relocate quickly, establish advanced datalinks, connect to a variety of sensors via a resilient communication structure, and successfully operate in a denied, degraded, or contested operational environment.

“TOC-L aims to adapt our current systems to new tactics needed for the high-end fight, and the DMOC provides a great environment to test those out,” said Klimas.

The event was the second experiment executed at the DMOC and focused on building and capturing tactics, techniques, and procedures, or TTPs, of the USAFE inspired Agile Control Integration Team while concentrating on integrating additional TOC-L mission sets.

"As the Air Force continues to evolve the TOC-L concept, it's important to have a venue like the DMOC to bring different career fields together and stress test our ideas for different variations of a TOC-L crew,” said Maj. Carl Plonk605th Test and Evaluation Squadron, TOC-L experiment director, Hurlburt Field, Florida.  “We've made a lot of progress in the first two iterations, and we're looking forward to integrating into VIRTUAL FLAG: Battle Management where we can apply added levels of complexity to see how our techniques hold up."

photo of two USAF Airmen wearing headsets sitting at a computer

DMOC brings next generation C2 to life

U.S. Air Force Airmen participating in the 705th Combat Training Squadron’s virtual Tactical Operations Center – Light experiment at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 2-5, 2022. The experiment was designed to provide an initial assessment of the functions and manning required to meet combatant commander needs for a rapidly mobile and configurable tactical command and control node to accelerate the kill chain. Two badges blurred for security. (U.S. Air Force photo by Deb Henley)

photo of four USAF Airmen working at computers with three USAF Airmen standing behind them watching, in the background four additional USAF Airmen are talking in a group

DMOC brings next generation C2 to life

U.S. Air Force Airmen participating in the 705th Combat Training Squadron’s virtual Tactical Operations Center – Light experiment at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 2-5, 2022. The experiment was designed to provide an initial assessment of the functions and manning required to meet combatant commander needs for a rapidly mobile and configurable tactical command and control node to accelerate the kill chain. Multiple badges blurred for security. (U.S. Air Force photo by Deb Henley)

USAF Airmen sits working on a computer

DMOC brings next generation C2 to life

An U.S. Air Force air battle manager participating in the 705th Combat Training Squadron’s virtual Tactical Operations Center – Light experiment at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 2-5, 2022. The experiment was designed to provide an initial assessment of the functions and manning required to meet combatant commander needs for a rapidly mobile and configurable tactical command and control node to accelerate the kill chain. One badge is blurred for security. (U.S. Air Force photo by Deb Henley)

Plonk continued, “It's eye-opening to see how these two career fields innovate to overcome mission challenges with limited traditional resources.  We've asked the team to think creatively with this experiment because quite frankly, this experiment and others like it are changing the way we will conduct battle management in the future."

The event expanded TACP capabilities-based C2 element integration, which included distributed partnering with Air Support Operations Squadrons across the country.  Additionally, the experiment saw joint partner involvement with U.S. Marine Corps air controllers from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, providing operational assessment support to bolster concept development.

“Joint inclusion in this experiment further cements the Air Force’s desire to be dialed into theater integration needs from the start,” stated Col. Adam Shelton, 505th Test and Training Group commander, Hurlburt Field, Florida.  “Efforts like the Advanced Battle Management System are challenging our service paradigms on battle management to decouple personnel from sensors and our Marine Corps teammates with their approach to combined arms warfare are the best suited to inform these efforts.”

The team plans to integrate the concepts and lessons learned from recent experiments into VIRTUAL FLAG: Battle Management in August.

photo of four USAF Airmen wearing headsets working on computers

DMOC brings next generation C2 to life

U.S. Air Force Airmen participating in the 705th Combat Training Squadron’s virtual Tactical Operations Center – Light experiment at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 2-5, 2022. The experiment was designed to provide an initial assessment of the functions and manning required to meet combatant commander needs for a rapidly mobile and configurable tactical command and control node to accelerate the kill chain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Deb Henley)

“Integrating Airmen from across these two command and control career fields to further develop these concepts is both exciting and necessary,” said Maj. Dustin Nedolast, 505th Command and Control Wing, Detachment 1, TOC-L experiment director, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  “Collaborative experimentation is key to continually building on the lessons learned throughout these iterations while staying focused on expediting a functional system for the joint force in the future.” 

 The 705th CTS reports to the 505th Combat Training Group, Nellis AFB, Nevada, and the 505th Command and Control Wing, headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

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