Home' Air Force News : June 23rd 2011 Contents 5
June 23, 2011
Have you thought about
your future workforce?
Have you considered offering
placements through the Defence Work
This Program provides opportunities to
students to experience the ADF or
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Send enquiries to:
SGT Andrew Hetherington
JOINT Battlefield Airspace Controllers
(JBACs) FLTLTs Luke Eckel and Daniel
Lee are pioneering a new Defence role
deployed to Multinational Base Tarin Kot
The two men are the first in the
ADF to deploy on operations as JBACs,
forming and operating an Airspace
Coordination Element (ACE).
FLTLT Eckel said they were responsi-
ble for controlling all aircraft movements
below 3500ft and "also any aircraft operat-
ing within restricted operating zones, such
as where artillery is firing, remotely piloted
aircraft flight areas and where troops are in
contact with the enemy".
"Our main source of traffic is heli-
copters but we also talk to close air sup-
port aircraft such as A-10s, F/A-18s and
F-16s and also civilian contracted trans-
ported aircraft," he said.
The ACE was purposefully located
within the Combined Team Uruzgan
(CT-U) Fires cell, which controls the use
of artillery and mortars to assist with the
coordination of airspace during combat
"The reason for this is if an artillery
mission begins we are responsible for
clearing aircraft from the gun's target
line," FLTLT Eckel said.
"By having us involved we can still
allow aircraft to fly close to gun tar-
get lines instead of denying the use of a
whole block of airspace because there's a
gun firing within it.
"This gives operators on the ground
and commanders far better use of the air-
space so more aircraft can be let into the
area and at the same time still be safely
The ACE, which FLTLT Daniel Lee
was responsible for setting up, began
operating on April 12.
FLTLT Lee said he had been there
since October, working in an air liaison
"It's great the ACE is now operating as
it improves the safety of all air users in the
CT-U Area of Operations (AO), and it's now
controlled by qualified personnel," he said.
A typical work day within a nine-
hour shift begins with a quick review of
submitted flight plans by aircrews who
will travel in the Uruzgan AO.
"We receive them the night before
and from this we can see whether there
will be any close air support missions,
rotary wing movements and any aircraft
that are to fly in and out of Tarin Kot,"
FLTLT Eckel said.
"From this information we know
when they will be within our airspace
and we can then make up our flight pro-
JBACs lead the way
as it improves
the safety of
all air users in
and it's now
said. Photo: SGT
gress strips, which we use to track the
aircraft in and out of our airspace.
"So far we've been handling between
15 and 20 fixed-wing aircraft, up to 50
rotary wing and approximately five close
air support missions a day."
One bonus for the ACE working in
the CT-U Fires cell was the opportu-
nity to use a piece of equipment operated
by the Australian-run Counter-Rocket
Artillery and Mortar (CRAM) detach-
"As a JBAC, to operate effectively, all
we need is a map and a radio to commu-
nicate with aircraft," FLTLT Eckel said.
"Here we have access to a feed from
CRAM's Giraffe radar, which is usually
used to detect the launch of indirect fire
against the Tarin Kot base.
"It's an excellent radar. We can see
aircraft squawk codes on the screen
(Identification friend or foe) and also use
it to validate aircraft are following the
instructions we have issued them and not
strolling into airspace which we said they
should not enter."
So far the ACE has received positive
feedback from airspace users.
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