Story By: 1st Lt. Matthew Li, 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment
FORD ISLAND, Hawaii - For the first time a Patriot Air Defense Dismounted Patriot Information Coordination Central (D-PICC) and Army Air Defense capabilities participated, during the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 18 held from June 27 to Aug. 2.
The training exercise offered Soldiers from across the 94th Army and Air Missile Defense Command the opportunity to participate in RIMPAC 18 in support of the U.S. Army's Multi Domain Task Force Pilot Program (MDTF-PP) and demonstrate the ability to detect, track, and defeat air and ballistic missile threats in a joint and allied multi-domain environment.
Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment and 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment deployed their tactical equipment from their home stations to the islands of Hawaii.
RIMPAC 18 offered the Army's MDTF-PP the opportunity to utilize an Avenger and Man-Portable Air Defense Systems in a live fire exercise on the Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands on Kauai.
"What we wanted to provide was the capabilities of the multiple air defense systems to paint a better air picture and situational awareness to the maneuver commander or combative commander," said Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Branch, 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment.
"Traditionally we receive our air tracks and air picture from our Sentinel Radar, but during this exercise we want to see what other capabilities we can receive an air picture from, in order to engage an hostile target as quickly as possible." Branch added.
With additional capabilities added to the training scenario, RIMPAC provided the MDTF-PP the opportunity to use the distributed line-of-sight battle management network, knows as Link 16.
"The biggest thing we're trying to validate here is how to incorporate different capabilities that are Link 16 capable to process targeting data to help the Multi Domain Task Force operate the way it needs too," said Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Coker, 17th Field Artillery Brigade.
"For the live fire training exercise we've a Sentinel Radar, Avenger and MANPAD team, set off shore. The Sentinel Radar will then pick up an aircraft identified as hostile, which will allow the Avenger and MANPAD teams to engage the target." Coker added. "The DPICC will then simulate the role of shooting down a cruise missile."
The employment of the D-PICC during RIMPAC 18 provided the ability to relocate the Battalion's Information Coordination Central tactical weapons control system from a vehicle into a collection of transportable cases providing the same capabilities of the mounted system.
"Through this exercise we're able to link in with the 17th Fires Brigade and receive their Link 16 air picture and information. Once we received that information we pushed out that information to our Patriot systems and relay that information to our Batteries that will be shooting," said 1st Lt. Ester Jang.
"Ultimately we're able to execute operational Air Missile Defense fires by running a Patriot simulation to counter cruise missile threats, and also established Joint Data Link between the D-PICC and 17th Field Artillery Brigade, Air Defense Airspace Management (ADAM) cell," she added.
The D-PICC's integration provided support to ensure the 17th Field Artillery Brigade effectively integrated IAMD capabilities into MDTF-PP utilizing organic ADAM cell capability.
"Our focus is to look pass the 10 and 15 year mark and see where we can go with the Patriot and Avenger systems and establishing joint connectivity," said Jang. "As we move forward we're probably not going to be operating as a defensive operation but more of the offensive."
The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea-lanes and security of the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971. Twenty-five nations, 46 ships, five submarines, about 200 aircraft and approximately 25,000 military personnel participated in RIMPAC from in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.