New Squadron Stands up at Kandahar

The Air Force stood up the 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, to oversee the operations of its small fleet of deployed E-11A Global Express communications-relay jets. The transition of E-11A operations from the 451st Tactical Airborne Gateway to the 430th EECS took place during a March 13 ceremony, according to a Kandahar release. “Right now we’re on the precipice of drawdown and redeployment operations, so to stand up a squadron in this kind of environment is really a privilege,” said Col. Brook Leonard, commander of Kandahar’s 451st Expeditionary Operations Group. He added, “In many ways, it speaks to the quality and excellence this unit has exhibited while they were the TAG.” E-11As have been operating from Kandahar since 2009, providing beyond-line-of-sight communications-relay capability to ground troops and other airborne platforms via the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node equipment that they carry. The Air Force has three E-11As in service and is converting a fourth Bombardier aircraft to an E-11A for the same role. (Kandahar report by Capt. Tristan Hinderliter) (See also Keep the BACN Coming and Flying WiFi Hotspot.)