CJTF-HOA Adds New Capability to Radio Advisory Mission
Airmen from the 1st Combat Communications Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, set up the Army Navy/Mobile, Special Type, Navigation Aid, AN/MSN-7, a mobile air traffic control tower, for the first time on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, May 14.
"We're bringing in a new capability to the U.S. Africa Command area of operations with the AN/MSN-7 mobile air traffic control tower for air traffic controllers to conduct air traffic operations on an air field and provide radio communications, land lines and visibility required for air traffic operations," said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Grant Ulmer, superintendent and tactical communications supervisor.
True to its name, the mobile air tower and its generator can be transported to any location worldwide via airlift support.
"The AN/MNS-7's primary mission is a tower restorative vehicle. So if a fixed tower goes out on an active air field, we can roll it in and set up close to the airfield so it'll almost instantly provide that capability back to the air traffic controllers and provide for greater safety of flight," said Ulmer.
Once the tower is unloaded from an aircraft, it can take up to two hours to perform a limited set-up. For a full set-up, which includes four antennas and weather sensory equipment, it can take close to four hours.
Either way, the AN/MSN-7 can be set up with a 7-person team. After set-up is completed, the mobile tower can be operated by one to three air traffic controllers depending on the mission capabilities required.
"It calls for four bodies to actually set up the AN/MSN-7 plus a power and HVAC (heating, venting and air conditioning) person to set up the power and A/C (air conditioning). It also has two air traffic controllers to start operations," said Ulmer. Ultimately, the AN/MSN-7 is part of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa's radar advisory mission, which was activated a year and a half ago. The mission provides a 200-nautical mile air picture for radar advisories into and out of Djiboutian airspace for military aircraft in the area. Since the radar mission has been in place, there has been an 85 percent reduction in hazardous air traffic reports in the area.
"The AN/MSN-7 will provide CJTF-HOA and AFRICOM the capability to provide air traffic control services anywhere from a fixed location like here at Camp Lemonnier to an austere air field," said Ulmer, an Orlando, Fla. native.