United States European Command by Senior Airman Rachel Waller, September 18, 2012
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – “Let’s say that you are deployed to an area with no communications set up and the commander(s) need to have communications up as soon as possible and as quick as possible to continue your mission. It needs to be light enough to be mobile to allow for connectivity anywhere in the world, what do you do,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Dennis Polite, infrastructure systems technician supervisor.
For the 20 Airmen of the 1st Combat Communications Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, supporting Combined Endeavor 2012, this could potentially be a real scenario for them.
To solve this dilemma, the 1st CCS deploys three Airmen with their newest unit type code, the Panther PacStar.
“Panther PacStar is a system used to support distinguished visitors with a command and control (C2) network,” said Polite. “It allows for a three technicians who specialize in satellite communications, infrastructure, and data systems, to set up communications as fast as possible.”
Although the 1st CCS received the system in 2010, this is the first time it has been used at CE12.
“We brought the system here for testing,” said Polite. “CE12 allows us to test connectivity to our sister services and to our coalition partners. The whole idea behind the testing is to connect to either a joint network or a coalition network to pass information back and forth effectively.”
The Panther PacStar package includes a satellite, a router, switches for unclassified and classified networks, Defense Switch Network (phone capabilities) and voice over internet protocol (VOIP) that can connect to other networks.
“If the DV has coalition partners, they can to pass information back and forth using the system or it can connect to any of the joint service networks,” said the sergeant.
Polite explained the idea behind Panther PacStar is to be light, lean and mobile.
“The entire system could be set up in as little as two hours,” said Polite. “The package is made up of six cases weighing 200 pounds total and each person of the team can carry two cases making the system pretty much accessible anywhere in world.”
Polite said the system costs more than $100,000 and can support up to 12 users at time, ensuring communications accessibility anywhere in the world.
CE12 is the world’s largest multinational command, control, communications and computer systems exercise designed to build and enhance communications and network interoperability between 41 nations and international organizations.