HOHENFELS, Germany - U.S. Army Paratroopers from the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade seamlessly integrated secure communications with the Canadian and French signal Soldiers during Exercise Allied Spirit VI from March 8-31, 2017 in Hohenfels, Germany.
Achieving secure communications with NATO Allies over High Frequency radios is an enormous milestone for the 173rd Airborne Brigade because it greatly enhanced speed and efficiency of communication between all nations involved in Exercise Allied Spirit VI.
Allied Spirit VI is a combined exercise based on realistic scenarios that certifies the readiness of the Latvian Land Brigade to conduct unified land operations at the U.S Army Europe's Joint Multinational Readiness Center.
"We're excited to work with our American counterparts and share expertise and knowledge, said Capt. Nicholas Mullin, Signal Officer in Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry Regiment of the Canadian Army. "Part of this exercise is about achieving a high level of interoperability with our brothers in arms to our South."
Throughout Allied Spirit VI, Signal Paratroopers from the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion (BSB) integrated with their French and Canadian counterparts to provide secure Combat Net Radio communications over High Frequency radios between all NATO participating countries.
"We're confident in our ability to work together seamlessly," said Mullin.
Secure communications were also established over FM communications platforms with French Soldiers through a Tactical Voice Bridge device. The bridge between the two units was the first in history for the 173rd Airborne Brigade, further adding to the force-entry operations command and capabilities. The highest level of secure FM communications was established by bridging U.S. radio Frequency hop encryption to French radio and French frequency hop.
"Bridging the differing components and finding a streamlined, all-encompassing method of radio communication for simplicity and efficiency is part of what makes being a signal soldier so challenging and rewarding" said Spc. Brent Ortiz, Senior Information Technology Specialist in Charlie Company, 173rd BSB.
Today's complex battlefield requires communication platforms to be able to integrate into wider multinational communications architectures. The training taking place during Allied Spirit VI evaluated the 173rd Airborne Brigade, NATO, and participating partner nations' signal ability.
"Being able to integrate transmission technologies between different nations is an amazing ability," said Ortiz.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the U.S. Army Contingency Force in Europe providing ready forces anywhere in the U.S., European, Africa and Central Commands' areas of responsibility within 18 hours.