TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Today’s Airmen must be able to fly, fight, and win in complex, multi-domain environments. U.S. partners and allies have come to expect that we will ensure freedom from attack, provide the ability to attack at the time and place of our choosing, and ensure we can operate freely in peace and war. Air superiority is accomplished through rigorous training against realistic threats in environments similar to those seen in contested areas of responsibility.
The 325th Operations Group is home to the Tyndall Enterprise Live Mission Operations Center (TELMOC), previously known as the Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (ACMI). TELMOC is responsible for tracking U.S. and allied aircraft as they train in the Tyndall Range Complex (TRC), and provides them with pre- and post-flight debrief data to include positioning, communication and execution of mission objectives. The airspace in which they operate encompasses over 14,091 square miles of skies above Tyndall and the Gulf of Mexico, over both land and water.
“In the TELMOC, we are able to record everything that occurs during a flying mission and replay that information back to the pilots during debriefs, allowing them to see exactly what went on during each mission,” said Skip Sanders, 325th Training Support Squadron TELMOC functional director. “This allows them to learn from their mistakes and learn how to employ better. We are probably one of the first Air Combat Command Live Mission Operations Centers in existence. We will probably act as the template for ACC’s LMOCs going into other bases that have similar capabilities.”
Tracking numerous airborne aircraft is made possible through a myriad of interwoven tracking systems to ensure peak proficiency and reliability. Initially, the ACMI used pod tracking on aircraft requiring triangulation between three ocean towers for an accurate reading. To expand efficiency, GPS is added and requires communication with three or more satellites and just a single tower. The next tier of tracking systems includes Link 16 (fighter data link) Situational Awareness Data Link (SADL), Federal Aviation Administration radar and onboard GPS trackers.
In 1979, Tyndall saw the establishment of the second Air Force ACMI Range, the fourth within the Department of Defense, as part of the Interceptor Weapons School (IWS) and was transferred to Tactical Air Command as Air Defense Tactical Air Command. The ACMI was operated as part of IWS, used to provide air superiority training support.
“We started off as a small eight aircraft range, and we have continued to grow both in scope and capability ever since the beginning,” Sanders added. “We grew from an eight aircraft system to a 36 aircraft system, and now we can track up to 100 aircraft at a time.”
Calling Tyndall home since 1981, Sanders shared firsthand experience of the constant growth he has seen over the years. He recalled his days as a fighter pilot, flying in the TRC and other ranges like it across the country. He remembers the importance the range played in his career and he believes the TELMOC will continue to grow and expand in the years to come.
These increased capabilities of TELMOC allow the pilots to grow whether they are flying 4 vs. 4, to 4 vs. 16, or higher, Sanders continued. With the TRC accredited for large-scale Checkered Flag exercises within ACC, the TELMOC is able to support flying missions that routinely encompass upward of 60+ aircraft from both Tyndall and bases neighboring the Gulf of Mexico.
The TRC and the TELMOC support both 325th Fighter Wing operations as well as other DoD programs and U.S. partners.
“Because of the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group (WSEP), we regularly support the U.S. Navy, Canadians, Singapore and other coalition partner countries,” added Sanders. “Anytime these DoD and U.S. partners are here, their time is split between weapons systems testing and dissimilar combat training that they use our range for.
“We are an essential preparatory for those who will inevitably be sent to a forward deployed area or operational theater. Our Checkered Flag exercise is one of the exercises that helps these deployers by focusing on essential training,” he continued. “As an F-22 Raptor base, our emphasis is placed on air-to-air training.”