Endurance Test for Operations Center IT made by the German Air Force

Soldiers of the Air Force Communication and Information Systems Center have developed a new IT platform. During the around-the-world Pacific Skies 24 deployment, the new platform will be put to the test. It offers new advantages to the forces during the stops in Alaska, Australia and India.

The system was developed to ensure faster deployability and operational readiness of operations centers in order to give users maximum benefits and comfort

„It is a good sign, if you do not hear from anyone,” says Technical Sergeant Nick. That means the users can work smoothly with the IT. One of the reasons for this is Technical Sergeant Nick. He is an IT network manager and part of a core team of four soldiers, who, in addition to their main work, have made it their job to improve the IT of the Bundeswehr during deployments abroad. The idea for such a project came over time and due to the constant need. The project was developed to ensure faster deployability and operational readiness of operations centers in order to provide users with maximum benefits and ease of use.

In just two years, which could set a new record, the team developed the new system: the connection, transport and operating container – external provider – German Air Force (short: ATePLw). A long name that stands for a lot of power. The system can supply an entire contingent with a connection to the Bundeswehr network while deployed abroad – which is not only important for exercises, but also for national and collective defense.

It consists of several parts, such as server, network and router components. A battery is also installed in case of a power outage. The system enables soldiers to work abroad in the same way as they are used to at home in Germany – by e-mail and telephone calls that can also be encrypted. It also features a repository.

Optimization by experience

Seven ATePLw systems are currently available for broad use. During the Pacific Skies 24 deployment exercise, users at the exercise locations in Alaska, Australia and India will be provided with the services and will really put the system to the test.

Due to the expected high utilization over a longer period under different climatic conditions, information about optimization opportunities can be gathered. The ATePLw is an ongoing project as the system is to be adapted and improved. Relevant experience made during deployments is extremely important for this purpose.

The system was successfully tested for the first time during Combined Air Policing in Estonia and Romania last year. One of the next development steps is to reduce the weight of the system so that it can be transported even more easily. The ATePLw team expects new insights from the current trip around the world in order to provide the best possible support to the users for their operational work.

During the Pacific Skies 24 deployment, the system developed by the German Air Force supports the work of the contingent

The advantages of the system

Compared to other systems, the ATePLw is not only significantly cheaper, but also more space-efficient. The servicemen and women of the  Air Force Communication and Information Systems Center created an ad hoc deployable, i.e. quickly transportable, system that can be shipped on only two Europallets. Similar models require up to 16 Europallets and several days have to be scheduled for commissioning. The new system only needs to be connected to the power supply.

The system developed by the Air Force is much more mobile and easier to use. The new system is simply connected to the computers and systems of the users and is ready for immediate use.
Once the power supply is available, the system can establish an encrypted and secure connection to Germany within five minutes and users can access the services provided within ten minutes.

The Pacific Skies 24 deployment was designed for a joint exercise. The goal of this exercise is to reinforce the operational capability, foster partnerships and demonstrate reliability. And systems such as the ATePLw enable German serviceman and women to perform optimal work while being deployed abroad.

Editor: Jasmin Mähler
Originator: Bundeswehr/Sherifa Kästner