752 OSS experiments with Air Force's pioneer system

  • Published
  • By Kimberly Woodruff 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
  • 552 Air Control Wing


The 752nd Operations Support Squadron is experimenting with one of the U.S. Air Force’s pioneering systems — the Tactical Operation Center-Light, or TOC-L.

TOC-L is a smaller and more mobile version of the Control and Reporting Center, but with transformative communication capabilities, and the ability to operate in multiple locations on the battlefield.

Throughout the Air Force, there are 16 TOC-L prototypes, and the 752 OSS is Air Combat Command’s Pathfinder Unit, tasked to experiment with the kits at major exercises including Red Flag, Bamboo Eagle and Project Convergence, in order to refine requirements for the next round of prototypes.

Warfighters contribute directly to development, influencing the technological solutions during each experiment. With each exercise, lessons learned are being funneled to battle management staff so they can refine their decision making and interface directly with vendors to secure a better solution for the challenge.

“TOC-L is absolutely a game changer,” said Col. Kenneth Voigt, 552nd Air Control Wing commander. “We want our adversaries to know that we’re advancing much faster than they think. “We’re developing tactics, techniques and procedures and the equipment to rapidly execute kill webs while making it difficult to find our people.”

Lt. Col. Neil Dimmitt, 752nd OSS recent commander, agreed and said, “If the adversary decides to target us, we’ll have multiple locations so that it is much more difficult for them to attack. It’s like a shell game — difficult to target and we’re making sure they have a hard day.”

The smaller and more stable platform makes it possible for deployment as close to the battlespace as possible while making it more difficult for the enemy to neutralize our ability to protect ground-based command and control.

“We are going to provide a combatant commander with ground-based battle management, and with a much lighter footprint,” said Dimmitt.

With TOC-L, the Air Force would be streamlining to make command and control more efficient.

“Up to this point, we haven’t had a command and control node that could interface with joint fire control networks or translate between them, so that’s key,” said Maj. Jonathan Barnett, chief of weapons and tactics with the 752nd OSS. “We can have a sensor in a Navy network designate a target and then pass it on to an Army shooter.”

Barnett added that for the cost of one F-35 joint strike fighter, approximately $109 million dollars, the Air Force could have more than 35 TOC-L prototypes.

“Normally site setup for the CRC took three days to establish, but the OSS team here, with very little training was able to connect to the outside world in about an hour, and I can guarantee we’ll get faster,” said Dimmitt.

Getting after the pacing threat can come down to not putting all the eggs into one basket.

Dimmitt said with TOC-L they are putting eggs into multiple places and moving them around; the footprint of the legacy Control and Reporting Center was about the size of a football field, but the ability to move the TOC-L around the battlespace makes it very difficult to target.

The TOC-L is a resilient system that will play a crucial role in shaping the future of tactical communications and battlefield management, ensuring the U.S. Air Force remains ready and capable of defending its interests and allies in any conflict scenario.