Raytheon markets military radio network to first responders

April 1, 2005
The U.S. Army A2C2S command and control system, designed by Raytheon, will also help the Army National Guard to perform its homeland-defense mission.

By John McHale

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The U.S. Army A2C2S command and control system, designed by Raytheon, will also help the Army National Guard to perform its homeland-defense mission.

Called Army Airborne Command and Control System (A2C2S), the flying tactical operations center has logged more than 2,000 hours in support of combat and peacekeeping missions in the Middle East. A2C2S supported the 4th Infantry Division during 18 months of combat in Iraq and in 2004, the United States Congress appropriated funds to demonstrate A2C2S’s capability to support the Army National Guard.

On February 24th, during a Homeland Defense Communications Module concept demonstration, the system proved that it could track and control first-responder vehicles, retransmit video and “crossband” otherwise-incompatible communications systems, Raytheon officials say. The exercise was funded in part by Congress.

“In crisis situations, every second counts,” says Brian McKeon, Raytheon vice president of Command and Control Systems. “A2C2S gives emergency responders new capabilities that increase their ability to help people, while reducing the time it takes to deliver that help.”

Using a scenario that replicated Huntsville’s 1989 tornado, the Army and Raytheon showed government dignitaries and the news media how the system might have helped emergency responders involved in that disaster recovery effort. The A2C2S demonstration was a first step in developing-and ultimately fielding-the new homeland-defense system.

A2C2S is a mission equipment package that transforms selected helicopters into airborne command posts. When installed on Army UH-60L Black Hawks, the system allows commanders and their staffs-at brigade, division and above-to maintain digital command, control and communication while moving through the battle space at more than 200 kilometers per hour.

UH-60L helicopters with A-kit equipment (antennas, structural supports and attachment points) are designated EUH-60L. The B-kit-consisting of integrated racks, cables, radios, computer, and networking equipment-is designated the AN/ASC-38.

The A2C2S provides five work stations to the commander and his staff, each capable of using all of the battle command systems needed on the modern battlefield, providing full TOC capability in the air or on the ground.

The same airborne command and control (C2) capability enables emergency responders to maintain uninterrupted C2, no matter where they respond to a disaster or defend America’s homeland. When equipped with the Homeland Defense Communications Module, A2C2S can connect civilian emergency first responders with National Guard and active military units in a C2 network.

The system is designed and produced by Raytheon employees in Huntsville, Ala., and Ft. Wayne, Ind. For more information, see www.raytheon.com.

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