Photo Information

A UH-1N helicopter with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467 flies over the Marine Air Support Squadron 1 compound here Aug. 26. Through satellite technology, MASS-1 Marines can set up tactical data link networks between air, sea and ground assets from across all branches of the military.

Photo by Pfc. Scott L. Tomaszycki

Marine Air Support Squadron 1 establishes ‘battlefield internet’

26 Aug 2010 | Pfc. Scott L. Tomaszycki

Marine Air Support Squadron 1 established a unique technically advanced tactical data link network with multiple branches of the military Aug. 16-26.

MASS-1 created the network using joint range extension software to link together helicopter, fighter, bomber, Naval and ground assets of the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force in what is essentially a “battlefield internet” at MCAS Cherry Point and the surrounding air and sea spaces.

Nearly 30 units were connected through the tactical data link. Among them were the USS Enterprise, a B-1B Lancer strategic bomber, a UH-1N helicopter from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467 and various other joint assets.

The JRE software provides the Marine Air-Ground Task Force line of sight, beyond line of sight and digital interoperability. The JRE software allows a unit to connect LOS and BLOS with both joint and MAGTF assets.

“We’re increasing the situational awareness of the direct air support center, and by doing so that also increases the situational awareness within the Marine air command and control system and MAGTF,” said Lt. Col. Bruce Sizemore, commanding officer of MASS-1. “The DASC is the linkage between the air combat element and the ground combat element.”

“This is the first time that the DASC has ever taken full measures to fully integrate the JRE in with our current role and current mission,” said Capt. Seth Tufvesson, air support control officer with MASS-1. “It will dramatically enhance our ability to save the lives of Marines and joint forces in the area of operations.”

MASS-1 and Marine Air Control Group 28 plan to further implement data link capability during the upcoming weapons and tactics instructor course. JRE is expected to act as a force multiplier by streamlining communications, allowing air, ground, and sea units to accomplish the mission more efficiently.

This capability is being considered for potential employment in Afghanistan where Marines are frequently deployed beyond line of sight and isolated by mountain ranges that block communications.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point