STARCOM’s ‘Black Skies’ exercise includes satellite jamming

SpaceFlag 22-3

SPACE FLAG 22-3 contributors pose for a bunch photograph at Schriever House Pressure Base, Colorado, Aug. 8, 2022. (U.S. House Pressure photograph by Judi Tomich)

AFA 2022 — The primary of a brand new sequence of House Pressure workout routines aimed toward coaching Guardians in particular talent units is underway this week, known as Black Skies and centered on digital warfare — together with “stay fireplace” within the type of real-world satellite tv for pc jamming, based on the top of the service’s coaching command.

“It’s an digital warfare train that Guardians are taking part in, significantly the House Operations Command models,” Maj. Gen. Shawn Bratton, commander of House Coaching and Readiness Command (STARCOM) informed reporters right here as we speak.

The chromatic “Skies sequence” of workout routines are modeled on the Air Pressure “Flag” workout routines, and are extra centered than the annual SPACE FLAG workout routines which were ongoing for a few years. This yr’s SPACE FLAG 22-3 was held Aug. 8-19 at Shriever SFB in Colorado, and was the primary following the train’s accreditation as a joint coaching exercise. It concerned some 120 contributors, together with from the Air Pressure and the Military. The following iteration of House Flag can be a coalition train involving allies among the many “5 Eyes” intelligence-sharing group (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and america.”

“There was an enormous Military presence there,” Bratton mentioned.

The continued Black Skies train contains Guardians and Air Nationwide Guard models specializing in area, for the reason that Protection Division has but to return to a conclusion concerning the destiny of these Guard personnel. Bratton defined that the workout routines mixes each “stay fireplace” and “constructive” coaching, together with the usage of a satellite tv for pc “leased” from industrial firms to play the goal.

He defined that the important thing space of EW coaching for House Pressure personnel that’s totally different from that required by Air Pressure trainees revolves round satellite tv for pc jamming — a functionality that many potential adversaries, together with China and Russia, have in spades.

Black Skies can be adopted later this yr by the Pink Skies train centered on “orbital warfare,” Bratton mentioned. Subsequent yr, he added, the Blue Skies train will deal with cyber warfare.

STARCOM, which contains about 1,000 personnel, continues to be working out of its non permanent headquarters in Colorado Springs, Bratton mentioned, because the Division of the Air Pressure (which offers top-level civilian administration of the House Pressure) is within the midst of figuring out its everlasting house.

Nevertheless, he mentioned that the year-old command has made progress in growing the structure for the Nationwide House Take a look at and Coaching Complicated (NSTTC), identified in Guardian slang as “the vary.” STARCOM has inherited some vary real-estate from the previous Air Pressure House Command, however probably will contain actions at various totally different location provided that a lot of the coaching can be digital, i.e. utilizing pc modeling and simulation.

Past Black Skies, STARCOM continues to be understanding whether or not it should additionally purchase any precise satellites to permit Guardians to undertake stay operations coaching, Bratton mentioned. He famous that he has tasked STARCOM’s Delta 1 to discover choices with universities that function CubeSats, in addition to with the Air Pressure Academy almost about their FalconSAT program.

The FalconSAT program permits cadets on the academy to design, construct and fly a really small satellite tv for pc. The most recent iteration of this system, FalconSAT-8, geared up with 5 small take a look at payloads, was carried to orbit in Might 2020 aboard the X-37B area aircraft.

“We haven’t made any onerous selections or spend any cash but, however we’re contemplating: does it make sense for us to to companion with the academy and fly FalconSAT?” Bratton requested. “We may simply construct a floor station, as a result of they already engineer that spacecraft and launch it. … We’re in planning, and looking for the suitable means ahead.”