When the United States Marine Corps flies its aircraft, it needs a support network that allows it to safely and effectively execute missions in support of air operations. This support network consists of many different capabilities to include the Marines who provide air traffic control. For the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, the aviation combat element of II Marine Expeditionary Force, this responsibility falls to Marine Air Control Squadron (MACS) 2.
The squadron, along with thousands of other Marines and sailors, is currently deployed to Norway for Exercise Cold Response 2022, which runs from March 14 to April 1, 2022. Exercise Cold Response is a national readiness exercise and Defense which is taking place across the country, with the participation of 26 other NATO allies and regional partners. During the exercise, MACS-2 will have two detachments operating from airfields located in Bodø and Bardufoss. These detachments will provide maritime and friendly forces with continuous all-weather radar, airspace management, meteorological and oceanographic services, and aircraft and surface-to-air weapons control in support of air support and counter warfare. -Aerial.
Before it could begin providing these services during the exercise, MACS-2 had to have its Precision Approach Radar (PAR) and Tactical Aid to Navigation (TACAN) capabilities inspected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA ). PAR is a type of radar guidance system designed to provide lateral and vertical guidance to an aircraft pilot for landing. TACAN is a navigation system used by military aircraft that provides the user with bearing and distance to a ground or airborne station.
US Marine Corps Capt. Trevor Foley, commanding officer of Marine Air Traffic Control Detachment B, located in Bardufoss, said passing the inspection was critical to the safe flow of aircraft.
“This inspection allows all aircraft (USMC, Joint, International) to use our USMC PAR and TACAN for safe recovery at Bardufoss Airport,” said Foley, a native of Titusville, Pennsylvania. “It provides critical flight safety precautions for any aircraft that gets caught in bad weather and has to land in low visibility conditions. This is a significant impact to aircraft routing safety. .”
The combat flight inspection was conducted by Major Logan Smith of the U.S. Air Force with the 375th Operations Group, Detachment 1. This detachment is based at the Mike Monroney Aerospace Center in Oklahoma City and travels the world to perform inspections of aerodrome navigation and instrument landing systems, radars and instrument procedures.
“Almost all exercises with an air presence will require a flight inspection,” Smith said. “In addition, when equipment breaks down or is replaced, the correction is inspected. We also work with other nations and have agreements to inspect their facilities. At any time of the year, there is at least one combat flight inspection team operating somewhere on earth.
Combat flight inspections have been around since World War II. In 1959, the United States Army and Navy transferred their flight inspection programs to the FAA. The US Air Force transferred much of its own flight inspection capability to the FAA in 1962. During the Bosnian conflict in 1995, an effort to disband the CFIN was halted because civilian flight controllers did not were not allowed to operate in combat zones. Since then, the 375th Operations Group, Detachment 1, has worked with the FAA around the world to inspect air installations, even those in combat environments.
“We will go to any area that the military is trying to establish or has an air presence and provide ground to air communication and navigation
the equipment works as advertised. After inspecting the equipment, we pass the information up the chain of command. For example, during the current exercise in Norway, we operate in an uncontested environment, which allows us to make several passes, report information to ground maintenance who can make adjustments and corrections, and then return back and check for corrections. In a real combat zone, the operations are slightly different, but just as thorough.”
Smith and his posse conducted the inspection while flying in a Challenger 600 Series Jet over Bardufoss Air Force Base where Foley and his Marines are working during the exercise. This is an area just off the runway that has been cleared of snow and consists of a small tent where his Marines will operate various radar equipment and systems, power generators, and several antenna systems. The jet made several passes over the mountainous landscape surrounding the small airfield, collecting data and assessing the operability of the Marines’ equipment.
“After all the data is gathered, it is returned to the base commander and ultimately he/she makes the decision on how to use the equipment,” Smith said. “It allows commanders in real combat who have an absolute need to continue to use gear (which performs less than optimally) when there are no other options.”
On March 10, 2022, Foley and his Marines breathed a sigh of relief – they passed the inspection. Their sister detachment in Bodø also passed their inspection.
“It was great to work with the Marines again,” Smith said. “I’m always impressed with the caliber of Marines I’ve interacted with throughout my career and these guys were no exception.”
|Date posted:||18.03.2022 03:29|
|Location:||BARDUFOSS, 19, NO|
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