by Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
1/11/2008 - BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) -- Construction is scheduled to begin this month on a facility to house a state-of-the-art battlefield command and control system that will integrate air traffic management throughout Iraq.
The $30 million Battlefield Command and Control CENTAF, or BC3, will house air traffic controllers from the Combined Enroute Radar Approach facility and weapons directors and surveillance technicians from the 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron. It is scheduled to be completed and reach initial operational capability by the end of February.
On top of being a modern computer-based system, BC3 will allow air traffic controllers and surveillance technicians to work closely together, thus enhancing communication, said Maj. Canyon Knop, 727th EACS director of operations.
He said the system is based on new technology and runs on a monitor the size of a standard desktop computer.
"The older systems we use are much slower. They've been beaten up over time and use computer technology from the '80s," said Major Knop. "When BC3 is up, we will be able to focus more on the mission instead of fighting the system.
"One cool thing BC3 has," he said, "is a rubber band tool you can zoom to see as far out or as close in as you need, like [managing airspace] off your desktop PC."
The major added that when the system is fully operational it will be noticed all over Iraq, allowing better communication with pilots and getting them to where they are needed faster, reducing the time it takes to provide support to ground forces throughout Iraq.