JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Soldiers with 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery conducted a joint operation training mission with the 62nd Airlift Wing on JBLM, which included air loading the Land Based Phalanx Weapons System (LPWS) onto a C-17 aircraft, Oct. 1, 2015.

Capt. Danni K. Stanford, Operation and Training Officer Assistant, 5-5 ADA explained the previous and new updates to the Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC) system.
"The old Counter, Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (C-RAM) system wasn't a program of record for the Army, but it was a joint operation system of systems between the Army, Navy, and civilians."

The new IFPC system is an Army program of record that has the civilian contractors assist with the maintenance and movement of the new IFPC equipment. Many of the systems are similar between C-RAM and IFPC but have undergone several updates as the system progresses.

During the training, "the Battalion is conducting a deployment readiness exercise for future deployments. Since we are the first fully fielded IFPC Battalion in the Army, we are working to refine the doctrine for IFPC air load operations," said Stanford.

The joint training was conducted over three days starting with a recall, tips and scales and air load operations of the Land-based Phalanx Weapons System (LPWS) onto a C-17, the most utilized military transport aircraft. It takes approximately two to four Soldiers to operate the LPWS, and approximately three to four Airmen to ground guide the LPWS onto the aircraft.

"This exercise trains us to air load the primary weapon that we use to counter Rockets, Artillery and Mortars in deployed locations," said 1st Lt. Shawn Kelsey, Air Defense Artillery Officer, 5-5 ADA. "Moving this equipment can be difficult because the LPWS truck and trailer weigh approximately 75,000lbs combined, and is one of the largest pieces of equipment to be loaded onto a C-17."

The Army trains Soldiers on driver's training before moving the equipment. Soldiers are also taught how to use various forms of communications to provide situational awareness. The Air Force trains the Load Master and ground guide on the weight qualifications, how many inches the equipment should be before it's moved onto the aircraft, safety techniques, and how many chains the equipment needs before the aircraft takes off and lands.

"This was a good opportunity for the Airmen and Soldiers to train together on this equipment so that they'll be better prepared for any future deployment," said Kelsey. "The training shows good teamwork and strengthens the relationship between the Air Force and Army."