Air Force News

Space Support Teams aid Desert Fox B-1B missions

Released: 5 Jan 1999

by 1st Lt. Carol A. Kanode
14th Air Force Public Affairs

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) -- An Air Force Space Support Team helped B-1B crews put bombs on target during Operation Desert Fox.

Beginning with the second night of bombings, a four-pers on Space Support Team from the 76th Space Operations Squadron located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., provided the 28th Air Expeditionary Group with satellite imagery for B-1B pre-strike mission planning and post-strike bomb damage assessment analysis.

Prior to take-off, B-1B flight crews familiarized themselves with targeting updates, near real-time intelligence to enhance situational awareness and threat avoidance information - information supplied by the Space Support Team. With space support, commanders on the ground at the deployed location were able to track the crewmembers' progress as they proceeded to their targets and then returned home safely.

Air Force Space Command organized five Space Support Teams to deploy worldwide within 24 hours. Typically, the four- to six-person teams provide the theater air commander space support such as missile warning, space surveillance, assistance in intelligence operations, satellite operations, communications, weather imagery and precision navigation and geopositioning.

This support allows the theater commander to integrate space capabilities into command, control, communication, computers and information infrastructures.

"Our space support teams are constantly ready to travel overseas to support the theater air commander," said Maj. Gen. Gerald F. Perryman Jr., 14th Air Force commander. "Because the integration of air and space capabilities is still not complete, those commanders don't yet have enough of their own space experts and we must send them ours.

"However, it's our goal to organize so the theater air commander won't have to rely on a special team of outside experts. He will already have space experts on his staff full time, who can reach back to the Air Force space operations center at Vandenberg (Air Force Base) to get the things they need to be effective in battle," Perryman said.

Lt. Col. Rich Wise, Space Support Team chief, said the team's presence helped others become aware of the products and tools of space technology.

"As we provide space support to deployed forces, they become aware of how space capabilities enhance their mission effectiveness," Wise said. "We also take advantage of opportunities to provide space capabilities briefings during contingency deployments, at flying exercises where we're providing support, and in Professional Military Education and other educational forums. As more Air Force units worldwide become aware of how space systems can help them accomplish their missions, they are more likely to request these space assets operationally." (Courtesy of Air Force Space Command News Service)


* B-1B Lancer
* Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.
* Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.