Rockwell Collins to tackle survivable battle management communications for U.S. nuclear forces

By John Keller

HANSCOM AFB, Mass. - U.S. Air Force experts are asking Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to design and build survivable communications paths for coordinating U.S. strategic nuclear forces.

These survivable communications paths will receive emergency action messages (EAMs) and force management messages from nuclear command-and-control centers and disseminate these crucial messages to strategic bomber, tanker, and reconnaissance aircraft.

Rockwell Collins is working under terms of a $351.9 million contract from the Air Force Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. The project is part of the Ground Element Minimum Essential Emergency Communications Network (MEECN) System, otherwise known as GEMS.

Air Force leaders want to develop and field GEMS in a fixed and a transportable configuration with layered system architectures.

GEMS will provide extremely high frequency (EHF) and very low frequency/low frequency (VLF) communications and aircrew alerting, as well as receiving, computing, routing, storing, and disseminating orders from nuclear command-and-control nodes to air crews, as well as to nuclear execution ground-support forces.

GEMS will replace Air Force Air Combat Command (ACC) and Air Mobility Command (AMC) fixed and deployable communications elements for bomber, tanker, reconnaissance, and other alert communications facilities that support strategic command, control, and communications.

The new system will replace mobile Single Channel Anti-Jam Man Portable (SCAMP) terminals and Fixed Site SCAMP (FSS) terminals to provide EHF and Advanced EHF survivable communications.

GEMS also will replace the Aircrew Alerting Communication Electromagnetic Pulse System/Electromagnetic Hardened Dispersal Communications (AACE/EHDC) for Ultra High Frequency Line-of-Sight (UHF LOS) intra-site Wing Command Post strategic battle-management requirements.

GEMS implementation will start with the fixed sites, low-data-rate EHF, and UHF LOS aircrew alerting. It then will become a mix of fixed and transportable site equipment according to system priority need.

Rockwell Collins will do the work at its facilities in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Richardson, Texas. Work is to be finished by May 2011. For more information contact Rockwell Collins online at

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