Because the Wednesday morning solar rose over the tarmac at Peterson Area Drive Base, simply over a dozen airmen donning heavy-duty headphones bustled in regards to the stomach of a C-17 Globemaster III plane, getting ready to load the airlifter with one of many nation’s most important items of communication tools.
A semitrailer bearing that asset — a Cell Constellation Management Station — was dwarfed by the grey large because it backed into the aircraft’s fuselage. Floor crews coaxed the truck backwards and forwards, completely aligning the load till 3 mere inches remained between the aircraft’s inside and the truck.
The morning got here as step one of a dayslong airlift train for the U.S. Area Drive 4th Area Operations Squadron, based mostly at Schriever Area Drive Base. Its 13 guardians assigned to the train have been tasked with working, transporting and defending the MCCS, a hefty satellite tv for pc command management heart whose major perform is to “guarantee survivable and endurable communications for the president, secretary of protection and different strategic customers all through the spectrum of nuclear battle,” the Area Drive stated.
The 4th SOPS is a part of Area Delta 8, which operates the Area Drive’s satellite tv for pc communication methods that present U.S. forces safe strategic communication globally in each peacetime and battle.
Earlier within the morning, the 13 4th SOPS guardians turned in paperwork, had their temperature checked and stacked their baggage by the bottom’s brick passenger terminal in a form of mini-deployment, simulating what may very well be a monthslong mission within the occasion of precise warfare, the mission commander stated.
“We’re eager to reveal the airlifts so we are able to validate — for ourselves, for the Area Drive and for the Joint Chiefs of Employees — that the 4th Area Operations Squadron is prepared to answer any eventuality, wherever on the planet, as conflicts probably evolve and escalate anytime,” mission commander 1st Lt. Adam Morgan stated.
The 4th SOPS, Morgan stated, controls a sure “constellation” of highly effective satellites, positioned throughout the globe, that may talk with one another straight. They’re operated by simply two mounted communication facilities — one at Schriever and one other in California — to maintain controls inside American bounds, however this makes these stations “prime targets” for adversaries, Morgan stated.
If one in all these mounted facilities had been to be attacked, or if a satellite tv for pc elsewhere on the planet malfunctions, the MCCS might be transported rapidly to imagine management of the satellite tv for pc system.
“That is the place this asset … is available in,” Morgan stated. “It’s able to loading on a C-5 or C-17 and deploying wherever on the planet on very quick discover with a view to get beneath that satellite tv for pc … and probably restore it and produce it again into the constellation.”
The aircraft, the MCCS and its guardians are set to fly to an undisclosed location stateside, the place operators will follow controlling the satellite tv for pc community as in the event that they had been “in an abroad setting” below menace of chemical assault or energetic warfare.
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At a mean of 24 to 26 years previous, Morgan stated, the 13 guardians are younger, like the brand new navy department during which they serve. For a lot of of them, that is their first responsibility task.
The train was supposed to start Monday however was delayed till Tuesday, then to Wednesday, whereas ready for the Globemaster, a navy transport plane, to reach in Colorado Springs. The aircraft was late — however for good motive.
“We flew the president’s (motorcade) limos yesterday,” Capt. Matt Judd, one of many aircraft’s pilots, stated. “We had been purported to be right here yesterday, however we received rerouted due to that.”
The huge plane, he stated, weighs in at 300,000 kilos however can take off with as much as 585,000 kilos. The guardians, some strapped with rifles and handguns, filed into the aircraft’s inside, and the again door sealed the payload inside.
“Though this can be a actually large airplane, it really has the angle of a small jet coaching plane,” Judd, of the 89th Airlift Squadron out of Ohio, stated. “This airplane really has a (management) stick, prefer it’s a fighter jet. You overlook you’ve got 500,000 kilos behind you typically.”
Morgan stated that whereas a lot of the Area Drive’s operations are categorized and positioned throughout the globe — or out of this world — he encourages transparency with the American public and desires them to understand how its armed forces, and their tools, are working behind the scenes to maintain them protected.
“Whereas the (MCCS) is a really protected asset and our adversaries realize it exists and need to know the place it’s at 24/7 — and we masks quite a lot of the main points — we would like the general public to know that that is right here,” he stated.