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[] New e-mail capability to aid US homeland defence effort,

            New e-mail capability to aid US homeland defence
            21 January 2002

                                                  The airborne warning
and control system programme office at Hanscom Air Force Base
                                                  have provided
high-frequency e-mail capability to a portion of the AWACS fleet
                                                  involved in US
homeland defence. While the office is planning on providing the entire
                                                  fleet with this
capability in 2002, six units were delivered in December, nearly a year
                                                  ahead of the planned

                                                  "11 September
triggered a compelling need to make a small number of these systems
                                                  available as soon as
possible," said 2nd Lt. Bill Hargrove, the programme manager.
                                                  Officials from the
552nd Air Control Wing, which operates the US AWACS fleet,
                                                  requested the systems
for use in "real-world" contingency operations worldwide, in
                                                  response to the
attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

                                                  "The high frequency
e-mail system will be used in contingency operations, like
                                                  Operation Noble Eagle,
to send and receive critical mission data to and from the E-3
            (Sentry)," said Brig. Gen. Ben T. Robinson, the 552nd Air
Control Wing commander. "It will allow the operator to send and receive
            near real-time adjustments to mission documentation like the
air tasking order." The systems, produced by Rockwell Collins, permit
            secure data transfer between the command centre located at
Tinker and the E-3s via e-mail transmission rather than voice,
            Hargrove said.

            "Having the message in writing really reduces the likelihood
of error," Hargrove said. "The message isn't likely to be misinterpreted
            incorrectly recorded. It's faster, too, because it doesn't
have to be recorded and distributed."

            This is the first application of high frequency e-mail
messaging, said Tony DeJoy, technical lead on the project. The six units

            delivered are two portable ground station kits, which are
made up of a laptop computer, a high-frequency radio and four airborne
            kits. The airborne kits have a customised laptop computer
and printer, and are the size of "large briefcases," DeJoy said.

            The small amount of space taken up by the briefcase on the
plane is a tremendous advantage, according to Hargrove, because
            space aboard an E-3 is always at a premium. The system uses
the Microsoft Office and Outlook programmes, which most people are
            already familiar with, he said. It provides data transfer
capability at high speeds, provides air-to-air and air-to-ground
            capability, can be used to transfer classified and
unclassified data, and is portable.

            The 552nd ACS aircrews are now using the newly procured kits
in their US homeland defence mission. The wing had been using two
            test kits immediately after 11 September, which they brought
to the Afghanistan theatre once operations began there.

            Unlike older versions, the new briefcases provide a small
device known as a KIV-7, to enable secure transmission, which fits
inside a
            slot in the briefcase rather than being located externally.
It also provides a printer port that is conveniently located on the
            briefcase. The six kits cost about $325,000.

            In the long term, the programme office plans to purchase 32
airborne kits, one for each E-3 in the Air Force fleet, plus spares.
            Eventually no ground kits will be needed, because the system
will be connected to the secure Internet network known as SIPRNET,
            at 14 fixed ground stations world-wide. Any aircraft with an
HF radio and an automatic link establishment capability could
            use this global system, Hargrove said.

Olivier Minkwitz___________________________________________
Dipl. Pol., wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
HSFK Hessische Stiftung für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung
PRIF Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
Leimenrode 29 60322 Frankfurt a/M Germany
Tel +49 (0)69 9591 0422  Fax +49 (0)69 5584 81
Mobil   0172  3196 006
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