137 SOW adds antenna to support ISR mission

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Brigette Waltermire
  • 137th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
A new structure was added to the Will Rogers Air National Guard Base skyline, and with it, a more direct way for its aircraft to communicate.

The new 138,600-dollar communications tower, installed Sept. 23, 2016, at WRANGB, Oklahoma, will support the training of air crew in coordination with the MC-12 Tactical Operations Center as part of the new intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission.

"The flying mission will directly benefit from the improved air-to-ground radio transmission quality," said Master Sgt. Edwin Simpson, 137th Special Operations Support Squadron project manager. "This is a huge deal for us."

The infrastructure at WRANGB previously did not allow the aircraft to transmit and receive signals directly from aircraft-to-ground during their training missions.

"The [air crew] training scenarios provided for the WRANGB TOC to have the ability to support four aircraft at once, times the number of emitters on each aircraft," said Simpson. "You end up with a significant number of systems which require the ability to transmit and receive."

Other squadrons on base involved in facilitating the process will also directly benefit from the addition, said Simpson. Intelligence analysts will be able to participate in exercises with access to the MC-12 imagery, while the 137th Operations Communications Flight will be able to effectively test configurations before assets leave home station. The 137th Engineering and Installation Squadron will be maintaining and operating their installations in the radio room as well. 

The project took nearly a month to complete, including the 60-foot self-supporting structure, 83-cubic yards of concrete foundation, the installation and termination of 3,600-feet of coaxial cables, a lightning protection system and the antennae.

Like all projects, the tower took time, money and manpower, but the payoff in base-wide mission training is worth the input, said Simpson.