The Right FACE for Communication

The Air Force has 20 Fighter Aircraft Command and Control Enhancement pods, which enable pilots flying in mountainous terrain like Afghanistan to maintain radio contact. It has 16 of the FACE pods at Bagram AB, Afghanistan, and two have been sent to Iraq, while another four recently were loaned to coalition air forces. When USAF first realized the problem pilots were having in Afghanistan, it sent two prototype pods to Bagram for use on A-10 Warthogs and flew them 24/7 for more than a year until they were replaced with production models. The pods, according to the Bagram Bullet, enable a controller to contact a fighter if it is out of reach by normal radio communication. The largely commercial-off-the-shelf FACE pod—easily loaded onto any aircraft that can carry a Sidewinder missile—is able to receive a satellite phone call.