Central Control

The Air Force anticipates starting construction later this month of a $30 million facility at Balad AB, Iraq, that will house a state-of-the-art system to manage military air traffic throughout the Middle Eastern nation more effectively. The service expects the BC3, standing for Battlefield Command and Control CENTAF, to be complete and operational by the end of February. The site will feature modern computers with monitors the size of standard desktop computers that will replace slower, less reliable 1980s-vintage equipment currently in use for air traffic management. It will allow controllers from the Combined En-route Radar Approach facility and weapons directors and surveillance technicians from the 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron to work together closely. The new facility’s net result will be improved aircraft responsiveness to the needs of ground forces, one Air Force official said. (USAF report by SSgt. Travis Edwards)