By Scott Prater
With new equipment that allows crews to remotely perform command and control functions of Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites, the 4th Space Operations Squadron here has been tasked to demonstrate its efficiency at loading the equipment onto a C-17 transport aircraft.
In a combined effort called the, “Air Transportability Loading Demonstration,” 4th SOPS Airmen, contractor personnel from Lincoln Laboratories and transport aircraft loadmasters successfully weighed and loaded an AEHF Antenna Calibration Facility Ground Mobile into a C-17, Jan. 14 at the Army’s Arrival/Departure Airfield Control Group Facility at Peterson Air Force Base.
“This was mainly a fit test,” said Milsatcom System Activation Taskforce Director Preston Wilkerson. “We wanted to make sure the equipment would fit on the C-17 along with any additional equipment 4th SOPS may need to bring along.”
The ACF Ground Mobile is the expected interim replacement for the current Milstar Ground Mobiles. As a portable system, the ACF would allow a quick transfer of capability in the event the primary 4th SOPS location was unable to perform its duties.
Each ACF Mobile Van has an accompanying Low Profile Antenna mounted on a separate trailer. Due to the combined length of the two vehicles they cannot be attached during transport on the C-17. This fact requires the vehicles be detached and that crews use support and protective floor shoring during air transport.
“This was the first time we attempted to load the equipment,” Mr. Wilkerson said. “It was also the first time loadmaster crews were able to handle the equipment. Some of it is odd shaped so the loadmasters really helped us to make sure this was a successful load.”
The effort was led and facilitated by Capt. Christopher Jones, SATAF, and Craig Martin, a contractor supporting the effort. The loading test was a two-day event, with crews weighing the equipment Jan. 13 and loading onto the transport aircraft Jan. 14.
“Everything went as expected,” Mr. Wilkerson said. “As we go down this road we’ll get more efficient at it, but the load was considered a full success.”