Military News

Friday, March 20, 2015

JSTARS provides ground assessment during joint hurricane exercise

by Tech. Sgt. Regina Young
116th Air Control Wing


3/18/2015 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Air Force E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft crews recently relayed real-time geographic data to ground personnel to safely evacuate citizens during a simulated hurricane as part of the Vigilant Guard exercise that took place in South Carolina.

While flying overhead, JSTARS unique wide-area, all-weather, surface surveillance radar and on-board communication suite allowed aircrew to immediately send damaged route, flooding, and bridge integrity information to Soldiers, and state and local authorities caused by simulated Hurricane Zephyr.

"This exercise provided a great opportunity to integrate and build partner relationships with the National Guard and civil authorities," said a 128th Airborne Command and Control Squadron mission crew commander.

Flown by members of the Georgia Air National Guard's 116th Air Control Wing, along with Soldiers from the 138th Military Intelligence Company, the exercise was the first-time JSTARS participated in Vigilant Guard directly helping the Defense to Civil Authorities agency.

"We have national guardsmen supporting many combatant commands across the globe as well as protecting the homeland here," said the mission crew commander. Our participation in Vigilant Guard allowed us to exercise our capabilities and find shortfalls and correct them so JSTARS can be used most effectively in both types of missions."

Vigilant Guard is a U.S. Northern Command and National Guard Bureau sponsored exercise designed to improve emergency coordination, response and recovery management with federal, regional, local, civilian and military partners.

"Joint STARS are the 'eyes' for the folks on the ground; they provide an interface with industry partners that is beneficial to the mission," said a deputy intelligence oversight officer with the Georgia National Guard.

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