TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
The 752nd Operations Support Squadron is ensuring the Air
Force maintains its edge in the air control mission for years to come through
changes to equipment and training.
Lt. Col. Heather Fleishauer, 752nd OSS commander, said her
unit, which falls under the 552nd Air Control Wing, is the lone, dedicated
support squadron for the Air Force’s control and reporting centers.
“The CRCs are command and control elements that are
ground-based,” Colonel Fleishauer explained. While the 552nd ACW conducts
airborne control using the E-3B/C/G Airborne Warning and Control System, “the
CRCs have the same mission and capability, in general, but with ground-based
radar we have sustainment power. We are at fixed sites, but are considered
mobile because within 72 hours we can get from one place to another.”
The Saber-tooth tigers provide dedicated support to
geographically separated, combat-coded Air Control Squadrons throughout the
United States, Europe and combat deployed locations. The 752nd OSS also plans
and supports worldwide contingency operations for combatant commanders. There
are four active-duty Air Control Squadrons, one of which is a Formal Training
Unit at Luke AFB, Arizona. There are also 10 Air National Guard Air Control
Squadrons, including a Test Squadron at Ft. Dodge, Iowa. The 752nd OSS supports
all of these units.
Currently, the 752nd OSS has the lead role in planning, testing,
training and subsequently ensuring combat capable weapon systems and personnel
are ready in the future.
The necessity for the 752nd OSS to take the lead on
upgrades comes from aging equipment and technology associated with the current
ground-based CRCs, the core of which are designated AN/TYQ-23. Relying on CRC
radar and communication equipment, the AN/TYQ-23 is a mobile command and
control system with multiple control and operating modules where teams of
personnel and equipment work to control aircraft. The -23 system is air mobile
and can be relocated to anywhere a combatant commander needs this capability
within days. However, the system is dated, large, cumbersome and requires lots
Senior Master Sgt. Scott, the senior enlisted adviser for
the 752nd, feels the time has come for the upgrade.
“We’re moving from 1970s technology into the 21st century.
Finally! A lot smaller footprint, a lot less logistics required to get us to
theatre,” he said. In theory we can move fast — quicker and more efficiently.”
The inherent changes aren’t necessarily reflected in the
name change for the system which comes in the form of a diminutive “A”
designator after the name. The addition of a letter may not be a big deal,
however, the AN/TYQ-23A is a massive technology leap to a smaller, lighter,
racked computer and equipment system which is more powerful, efficient and has
better reliability, according to the systems manufacturer, Northrop Grumman
This system is tailorable to use the associated operating
hard-side modules or all-weather shelter capable of withstanding winds in
excess of 100 mph. It can also be easily tailored to work from an existing
facility which might be found at an air base or other strategic location with
“As the OSS we want to relieve as much burden as we can
off the air control squadrons so that we can concentrate on the future of the
systems,” Colonel Fleishauer said. “They’re concentrating on immediately taking
what they have and getting their folks ready to get out the door and fulfill
the mission they are tasked to do.”
The CRCs will all receive new -23A systems in the next
18-24 months, she said.
“We’re tasked with streamlining MAJCOM coordination and to
advance the weapon system itself,” the colonel said.
The 752nd OSS recognized there needed to be a better way
to conduct training to match the equipment upgrades. Squadron leaders have
fought hard to ensure that happens in a coordinated effort, which allows the
training unit to continue producing initial students off the approved syllabi
while the 752nd begins to slowly produce graduates who are qualified on the new
While the 752nd OSS won’t get a full-complement of the
latest equipment upgrades until the operational squadrons get it first, they do
have a training emulator at Tinker. The emulator consists of seven consoles
which allow operationally representative training for almost all mission sets.
For now the FTU at Luke, the 607th ACS, continues to train initial students on
the older, approved syllabi.
The sea change has begun here at Tinker as the 752nd
advances a new training program on a draft syllabus. Maj. Craig, the lead ABM
instructor with the 752nd OSS, says they have the first batch of four students
— one from the 752nd OSS, two from AWACS one from E-8C J-STARS.
Major Craig lauds this mix because “we’re getting a
breadth of experience to test out this new course.” The training class
conducted in-house by the 752nd OSS will graduate Dec. 9 with three personnel
going to U.S. Air Forces Europe and one remaining with the unit.
Because there is a large cross-flow between the air battle
managers who fly aboard E-3 AWACS and E-8C J-STARS and their ground-based
counterparts at the CRCs, there is a large training burden which falls to the
units based upon the current training plan. Currently, ABMs receive initial
training and numerous evaluations as they progress, whether in the air or on
the ground. If they move to another weapon system, they must recertify through
the long training process. That translates into massive duplication of
resources and flights. The new syllabi will allow ABMs to “certify” with basic
qualifications they simply maintain and upgrade as required through one or two
“Air Battle Management is a team sport,” Colonel
Fleishauer notes. “Regardless of what platform you are on, you need to be able
to communicate amid chaos so that you can calmly make a plan and direct that
plan on a radio to someone who is miles and miles away.”
The units themselves will get somebody who’s more capable,
according to the commander.
“They’ll have more in-depth knowledge of the different
parts of the system,” she said. “Not just the beeps and squeaks, but how the
crew needs to interact with each other.”
Major Craig said the new training course is designed to
work, “for brand-new lieutenants out of the school house or Majors who are
coming from the two other weapons systems.”
Colonel Fleishauer brings the conversation away from all
the technology talk and training and back to ways we’ve always communicated —
“We have a more capable platform and we have a
better way to operate it more efficiently,” she said. “The -23A allows us to
sit people together and better communicate, because they are physically closer
to each other rather than in boxes with four people each, you are all on one