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Pinpoint technology: MACS-2 tests future warfighting concepts

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Marines from Marine Air Control Squadron 2 assisted Headquarters Marine Corps by testing a new composite tracking network during a field training exercise that took place in Dam Neck, Va., July 28- Aug. 30.

“This piece of equipment will help us, as Marines, get back to our amphibious roots,” said Maj. Jason A. Sharp, the operations officer for MACS-2. “This unique capability will eventually allow the Tactical Air Operations Center to detect, identify and distribute hostile targets to joint agencies like Aegis cruisers and fighters providing active air defense to protect our forces.”

Sharp said CTN is the adaptation of the United States Navy’s Cooperative Engagement Capability modified for Marine Corps use.

“MACS-2 possesses the only expeditionary ground-based sensor within the Department of Defense, which can detect and track long range air breathing targets within 300 nautical miles,” said Sharp. “It can also pick up theater ballistic missiles at ranges of 400 nautical miles for 360 degrees and up to one million feet in elevation.”

Sharp added that CTN will provide the Marine Air Ground Task Force commander a sensor netting solution that will help defend friendly forces from hostile aircraft and cruise missiles by correlating sensor data from local and remote radars in the CEC network.

“MACS-2 will test this new capability during Operation Bold Alligator, Jan. 20 - Feb. 12, 2012,” said Sharp. “The TAOC will share its air picture with an E-2D Hawkeye providing air surveillance for the carrier strike group. This type of operation falls right in line with the commandant’s guidance to return to our naval roots.”

According to a release from the National Defense Industrial Association web site, http://www.NDIA.org, Bold Alligator is a sea-based amphibious operation that includes a forcible entry mission against conventional and asymmetric threats.

Article by Pfc. Cory D. Polom, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point