By Maj. Dorian Walton and Capt. Christopher MaudlinJuly 27, 2017
MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania -- Macedonian Army Capt. Ace Karajovanoski utilized the VHF Falcon II radio to communicate with U.S helicopters, July 16.
The Radio call was made possible by partner nation coordination and utilizing the Tactical Voice Bridge which allows for synchronization of different radio systems without compromising sensitive radio keys. The exercise consisted of a Romanian Role II hospital, a newly formed Balkan Medical Task Force made up of six different countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slavonia, Albania) and the 212th Combat Support Hospital.
During the exercise, 30th Medical Brigade utilized the Barrett Tactical Voice Bridge to effectively communicate on a common network with all participating nations. The TVB weighs less than a pound and allows units to connect to other radio systems and types without compromising security keys or encryption. In preparation for the exercise the brigade was able to connect the Romanian Harris Falcon II hand held radio with its own frequency and communication security key to an American FM R/T 1523 Radio and Balkan Harris 5800V MP radio all with their own unique channels and encryption, while utilizing a common network.
"This is the first step in achieving true interoperability versus just inter-capability with our allied nations and partners," said Col. Timothy G. Bosetti, Commander 30th Medical Brigade. "During the exercise 30th Medical Briagde was also able to test the effective range of the TVB as they established a stable and clear connection with the 10th CAB MEDEVAC crew at Capu Midia approximately 20 kilometers from the Air base. This demonstrated the capability for the Bulgarian Medical Treatment Facility to communicate from its own frequency and COMSEC to a U.S. helicopter on a separate frequency without compromising any nation's security or keys in the process."
In addition to validating the interoperability capabilities of the TVB, 30th Medical Brigade was also able to test the long-haul communications features as well. By connecting the TVB to a satellite communications radio and then to an American 1523 FM radio, 30th Medical Brigade was able to talk to its subordinate battalion -- 421st Multifunctional Medical Battalion -- at its location on Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria more than 500 kilometers away. Once again demonstrating the capability to communicate on a FM frequency to another unit beyond line of sight.
The validation of the TVB is another critical step in establishing interoperability operational capability with American allies and partnered nations. Next, 30th Medical Brigade plans to test the distance limits of the TVB with its German, British, and Spanish allies and partners in Germany and throughout Europe, to further lay the ground work for a true multinational common operating picture capability.