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Deployable Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems (DATCALS)


The airfield operations mission is to deploy worldwide in support of operational forces at host nation or bare base locations and provide basic airfield services and combat airspace support to the theater Air Operations Center (AOC). The Deployable Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems (DATCALS) provide the capability to identify, sequence, and sepa-rate aircraft; provide final approach guidance and control instructions to aircraft at deployed locations in all types of weather. DATCALS equipment and personnel can be employed to provide liaison, control tower, Radar Approach Control (RAPCON), precision landing capabilities, and mobile Tactical Air Nav-igation Aid (TACAN) services or any combination.

Facility operators for both Air Traffic Control (ATC) and air-field managers deploy, operate, and sustain DATCALS to support operations from bare base to host nation locations. While the focus of the concept is on deploying large scale forces into a bare base scenario, airfield operations can also be adaptable to small unit and/or single mission deployments.

Generally, in a combat theater/AOR, air traffic and airspace command and control systems are integrated under a single combined/joint forces airspace control authority. USAF ATC facilities and personnel (fixed, tactical, and augmentation) become an integral part of the Theater Air Control System (TACS). USAF controllers perform terminal air traffic operations, combat airspace control within the TACS, or liaison/augmentation at host nation control facilities.

Airlift into the theater is extremely limited during the deployment and employment phases. DATCALS will be prioritized by the deployment operations planners along with the other assets and missions going to the designated location.

Minimal airfield operations services are provided until sustaining DATCALS arrive. Small, lightweight, minimum capability, and highly mobile packages provide initial Visual Flight Rules (VFR) or limited (procedural control rather than positive control) Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) ATC. Fighting forces and supporting units deploying in initial phases of a crisis should be self-sufficient (i.e., food, water, shelter, etc.) for up to 14 days.

DATCALS provides sustaining airfield operations to supplement the initial deployment phase and provide required positive control IFR capability up to dual runway precision approach. This will provide full base airfield operations support for an extended period of time. A full range of terminal (mobile control tower, ASR, precision landing capabilities, and/or navigational aids both space- and ground-based) and transmission medium equipment is included in this phase. Airfield management augmentation personnel from CONUS bases are required for this phase.

DATCALS are theater assets and not considered organic to the wing. When the wing rotates out of theater, DATCALS equipment may remain in place. By leaving the DATCALS equipment, it reduces airlift and possibly flight inspection requirements. It may become necessary to rotate personnel as the theater matures and airlift becomes available.

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