DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.: In late July and early August, members of the 43rd Electronic Combat Squadron participated in Empire Challenge 10, a live intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance interoperability demonstration.
The annual endeavor, sponsored by the undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, aims to enhance working relationships between joint-service and coalition partners. This year, EC10 was based out of Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and included more than 2,000 participants.
The entire three-week demonstration, which ended Aug. 13, ran like a simulated deployment operation, said Capt. Daniel A. Sayavan, the 43rd ECS exercise coordinator.
“This is supposed to mimic things that are going on, right now, downrange,” he said.
This year’s iteration of the exercise, especially the electronic combat involvement, focused on improving communication between aerial surveillance and ground Soldiers, which has been an issue during deployments, Captain Sayavan said.
“I guess a problem that’s been identified in the past is that we have (certain) information, but we don’t have a way to get it to the people on the ground,” he said.
The crew members from the 43rd ECS who participated in EC10 flew an EC-130H Compass Call, an aircraft with the ability to monitor enemy communications. They combined their efforts and capabilities with other aircraft, like the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System, which has sensors that allow it to survey the ground.
Together, these people attempted to amass their intelligence and convey the findings to Soldiers on the ground, said Capt. William R. Gery, the 43rd ECS electronic warfare officer.
“The exercise was designed to test and develop tactics, techniques, and procedures for ISR integration, electronic attack aircraft, as well as close air support aircraft,” Captain Gery said, “and taking that information, fusing it together into one common operating picture and then allowing that information to go to the ground party we’re supporting.”
The transfer of information from aerial surveillance professionals to ground troops in a war setting must be done promptly or the information could lose its pertinence, Captain Sayavan said.
“That is what we’re working on practicing,” he said. “How do we get all this information, compile it in a timely manner, and make it useful so the guys on the ground can take this information, use it, and potentially save lives?”
This was the seventh EC event, and the second one led by U.S. Joint Forces Command officials.
In all, people from 20 worldwide locations participated.