An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | June 29, 2015

966th AACS Tests Upgraded Airborne Warning and Control System Platform at Northern Edge 15

By U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Larry Foos NE15 Joint Information Bureau Public Affairs

Calmly soaring at 30,000 feet in the midst of nearly 100 fighters, bombers and refueling tankers executing a battle scenario, an Air Force E-3G Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveys every aircraft in a 300 mile radius, calling out commands, verifying target hits and sending aircraft back home safely.

Threat detection, improvisation, air battle management - it was all part of a typical mission for the E-3G crew of the U.S. Air Force 964th and 966th Airborne Air Control Squadron (AACS), Oklahoma City during Exercise Northern Edge 2015 in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex.

"We provide the command and control of the aircraft. It's our job to oversee what's going on, and in real time, make changes in the air," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Dan Sprunger, 964th AACS mission crew commander. "We run the tanker plan so when guys need gas, we send them there. If guys need to fall out, we shift aircraft around. We're like the chess master of the game."

With as many as 24 weapons officers, surveillance officers, radar and communication technicians, and flight deck crew on a single E-3G Northern Edge mission, the AACS gained not only valuable, high-tempo warfare experience, but also met specific testing goals. The E-3G aircraft carries an upgraded computer platform for their weapons and surveillance scopes, known as the 4045. It advances their old operating system by about 30 years. Northern Edge enabled AWACS personnel to try the new system and they quickly learned the value of the new features.

"It provides more situational awareness," said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Breann Hermann, 964th AACS air weapons officer. "You can personalize it and now you can build unlimited airspaces. It's more reliable and more technologically advanced."

After each mission, the crew provides feedback how the 4045 system worked and offer potential areas of improvement. Overall, it's been a success.

"The system cuts down on [operator's] steps. The ease of use is drastically higher, and the tracking process goes faster," Sprunger said.

By the end of the two-week, biannual Northern Edge exercise, the AACS' squadrons will have completed approximately 15 command and control missions using both old and new systems. Both AWACS aircraft effectively brought dozens of aircraft in and out of the battle range safely and successfully hitting their targets.

Alaska's premier joint training exercise, Northern Edge combined approximately 200 military aircraft from all services to practice operations, techniques and procedures while simultaneously enhancing interoperability within the JPARC and the Navy's Temporary Maritime Activities Area located in the Gulf of Alaska. Some 6,000 Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen from active duty, Reserve and National Guard units participated.




U.S. Marines, Okinawa citizens honor World War II casualties | Ie Shima Lighthouse Memorial Service 2024
Japanese coast guardsmen decorate the Ie Shima Lighthouse Memorial Monument for Martyrs in preparation for the annual Ie Shima Lighthouse Memorial Service on Ie Shima, Okinawa, Japan, April 21, 2024. The memorial service was held to commemorate the casualties of World War II, the Ie Shima lighthouse keeper, and his family.  (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brody Robertson)
May 1, 2024 - U.S. Marines, Japanese coast guardsmen, and Okinawan officials honored the casualties of WWII during the annual Ie Shima Lighthouse Memorial Service on Ie Shima, Okinawa, Japan, April 21...

U.S. Coast Guard hosts congressional delegation in Guam
Capt. Nicholas Simmons, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam, discusses operations with Congressman Sam Graves, Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Congressman Mike Bost, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, from the deck of the USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) in Guam on April 26, 2024. The delegation, which included Congressmen David Rouzer, Troy Nehls, and Mark DeSaulnier, along with Guam Delegate James Moylan and key staff from both committees, spent the afternoon with crews, gaining firsthand insights into the critical operations of the Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) in the region. The delegation also toured essential infrastructure sites, including the damaged glass breakwater and the Port Authority of Guam, from the cutter and the cutter small boat. These sites are essential for military readiness, impact shipping routes, and influence the economic activity and cost of goods in the Marianas. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Sara Muir)
May 1, 2024 - On April 26, 2024, the team at U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam and Base Guam hosted a distinguished Congressional Delegation led by Congressman Sam Graves, Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and...

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Opening Remarks at the House Armed Services Committee Budget Posture Hearing - FY25 Budget Request for the Department of Defense
Graphic intended for use as a placeholder for Statements and Press Releases without accompanying imagery.
April 30, 2024 - Chairman Rogers, Ranking Member Smith, distinguished Members of the Committee: Thanks for the opportunity to testify in support of President Biden's proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget for the Department of Defense...

MQ-9 joins CAS training, conducts first live munitions training in Korea during KFT 24
A U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper takes off from the flightline at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, April 19, 2024. Two F-16s and two U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning IIs joined the Reaper for a joint close air support training event as part of Korea Flying Training 24, the largest ROK-U.S. combined flying training event held annually on Korean peninsula. The event marked the first time an MQ-9 has conducted live munitions strike training on the Korean peninsula. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Earick)
April 30, 2024 - An inert GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided munition fired from a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper impacts a simulated target at Pilsung Range, Republic of Korea, April 19, 2024...

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Hosts Virtual Chiefs of Defense Meeting
Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, hosts a virtual Chiefs of Defense meeting at the USINDOPACOM headquarters in Hawaii to strengthen military-to-military relationships, discuss common security issues and foster regional cooperation, April 29, 2024. Senior military leaders from 27 countries met virtually and reviewed the progress of agreed upon objectives. USINDOPACOM is committed to enhancing stability in the Indo-Pacific region by promoting security cooperation, encouraging peaceful development, responding to contingencies, deterring aggression and, when necessary, fighting to win. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Austin Riel)
April 29, 2024 - Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, hosted a virtual Chiefs of Defense meeting at the USINDOPACOM headquarters in Hawaii to strengthen military-to-military relationships, discuss common security...