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In the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan, our Warfighters need solutions that extend beyond the line of sight. In 2013, United States Air Forces Central Command (USAFCENT) recognized its existing Joint Radio Relay (JR2) capability needed new technology to overcome terrain and other obstructions that impede secure communications and close air support for the warfighter.
The opportunity presented a daunting technical challenge with a bold timeframe for delivery. The new JR2 had to handle both encrypted and unencrypted communications without onsite cryptographic equipment. JR2 had to be operational when USAFCENT launched its new Battlespace Command and Control Center, which meant compressing a multi-year endeavor into just over 12 months.
“Overseeing air operations in the middle east, US Air Forces central command urgently needed a communications capability that extended beyond line of sight to provide close air support in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan”
Booz Allen, in support of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Systems Center (SPAWARSYSCEN) Atlantic, delivered ground-to-air support with an agile new method—taking a new theater-ready communications system from inventive prototype to operational system in just over a year. With a plan to converge the prototype, design, and engineering phases to meet the deadline, Booz Allen created an engineering “scrum” team. Taken from the rugby term, the effort included small teams of experts working intensively yet interdependently. They utilized 3D computer modeling to shape requirements, foresee problems, and accelerate progress.
Armed with the confidence of our prototypes, the client authorized Booz Allen to procure materials and build the system. As the team received equipment for production, they quality tested each unit, making design changes as needed, and kept on schedule and under budget.
The first new JR2 system was delivered to the Air Force and was on a flight to Afghanistan the next day. ISO 9001:2008 auditors reviewed the system and gave the effort high marks.
It has proved a success in the field and, as a result, SPAWARSYSCEN Atlantic has contracted Booz Allen to assemble additional systems for the US Air Forces Central Command for use across the Air Force.