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News > ESC working to upgrade the 'heart' of control and reporting center
Deployed Control and Reporting Center
An Electronic Systems Center team is updating a key component of the Control and Reporting Center, shown here at a deployed location. The team is working to upgrade the CRC Operations Module and recently put out a request for information. (Courtesy photo)
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ESC working to upgrade the 'heart' of control and reporting center

Posted 1/27/2012   Updated 1/27/2012 Email story   Print story


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

1/27/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The Electronic Systems Center is working to modernize the U.S. Air Force Control and Reporting Center and has recently put out a request for information to upgrade the CRC Operations Module.

The CRC is a mobile command, control and communications radar element which provides a comprehensive air picture by integrating input from air- and ground-based radars. It consists of several subsystems, including AN/TPS-75 radar, a radio module, theater deployable communications unit module and the OM.

"By using the CRC, warfighters - in the sky and on the ground - are more easily able to conduct an air/land battle," said Robert Grudziecki, CRC deputy program manager. "By connecting to the other fine surveillance tools we have today, such as Joint STARS and AWACS, they are able to have a complete air picture in near real time."

According to program officials, the OM is considered the "heart" of the CRC as it displays the information obtained from various sensors.

The request for information is for an effort called the "C2 Engine Upgrade." The idea is to have the OM consist of a sustainable, off-the-shelf, open architecture technical configuration that not only upgrades the system but reduces the overall logistical footprint to the maximum degree possible.

There are six main areas that are being looked at as part of the effort: Battle Management, Weapons Control, Surveillance, Combat Identification, Airspace Management and Tactical Data Link Management.

Any upgrades also need to ensure they can integrate new and emerging technologies when they become available and allow for net-centric operations.

"The CRC sees thousands of tracks every day," said Grudziecki. "Although it has been very successful, we can't have any sort of antiquated equipment. We need to enhance the equipment - computers, software, radios - to ensure it is available when our warfighters need it most."

Although the CRC is considered very rugged and reliable, when the program began, it would take multiple aircraft to transport the CRC to its destination. Now, in its fourth generation, it is air- and road- transportable. However, the program office is still looking to improve its mobility.

"Currently, the CRC has 16 operator stations in four separate OMs," said Rod Rendina, program manager. "We are looking, with our partner at the Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill AFB, Utah, to see if all four are still needed and if there's a way we can put the stations themselves directly into the deployed environment."

The request for information and information about industry days are available on FedBizOpps at https://www.fbo.gov.

"These are exciting times," Grudziecki said. "As we look at modernizing the CRC, we are looking to industry to see what solutions can enhance it - what parts and pieces might already exist that can enhance its mission."

The CRC program office is looking at some future endeavors as well. One of the capabilities they are looking at is a ground moving target indication capability to receive, process and display ground and air tracks.

Grudziecki said the team is a big part of why CRC is successful.

"Although we are a small team working on a program with many different moving parts, everyone works together collaboratively to ensure this important system is available for our warfighters."

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