Fort Campbell air warriors light up Oklahoma sky with C-RAM

Fort Campbell air warriors light up Oklahoma sky with C-RAM
A loudspeaker blared “incoming, incoming, incoming” and Soldiers immediately dropped to the ground. A Counter — Rocket, Artillery and Mortar gun whirred as the weapon system tracked the threat. A four-second burst from the Gatling-type gun filled the air with tracer fire. Then the 300 rounds crackled as they exploded looking like a fireworks show that created a wall of flack which intercepted and destroyed the incoming mortar. The Soldiers scrambled to their feet and headed toward a bunker.

This was the scene May 26, at Thompson Hill Range here as 60 air defenders from B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery, from Fort Campbell, Ky., participated in a Counter — Rocket, Artillery and Mortar, known as a C-RAM, live fire. The live fire was part of their six-week pre-deployment certification to prepare them for C-RAM missions at outposts.

“The certification is going smooth. The group of Soldiers ahead of us took out every target that came toward them,” said Sgt. Orlando Rodriguez, B/2-44th, air and missile defense crewmembers team chief.

Instructors and contractors from D Battery, 2nd Battalion, 6th ADA, at Fort Sill conducted the training which is something they do about every nine months with deploying ADA units that are given the C-RAM mission, said trainer Sgt. 1st Class Kleber Soriano, D/2-6th ADA, academics section.

During the certification, the Fort Campbell short-range air defenders, who are a mix of Avenger missile crewmembers, air defense battle management system operators, and radar repairers, learn the C-RAM weapon system. The training culminates with about 10 days of live-fire training.

The biggest change from the Avenger system is learning the different procedures used by the C-RAM weapon system, Rodriguez said.

Raytheon contractor James Scott said the Avenger and C-RAM use similar electronics, but there is a different end process.

“It’s kind of like going from Microsoft to Apple,” he said.

One of the most challenging aspects of the certification is getting the gun crew and the engagement operations cell to communicate with each other, Soriano said.

“They need to learn how to work together and know what each other does,” he said.

Soriano emphasized that C-RAM is more than just an electric four-barrel gun that can fire 75 20mm high explosives rounds per second with a greater than 80 percent kill probability of mortar rounds.

Its layered network of counter-mortar radars can detect where mortars and rockets are coming from, he said. Soldiers can perform pattern analysis of the threats. This intelligence can be provided to, say, a forward operating base’s commander, who will then know where the threat is and how to address it.

Spc. Jason Campos, B/2-44th, air and missile defense crewmember, said he was looking forward to his first deployment, and using the C-RAM.

“After two years and three months, it’s really exciting for me,” he said.

Rodriguez said he believes his battery’s presence will definitely make a difference during deployment.

“I’m excited to get out there and help protect my team members from this enemy and indirect fire,” Rodriguez said.


British intelligence MI5 admits to wrongful surveillance of innocent people

The UK’s Security Service wrongly gathered information about innocent telephone users during criminal surveillance, a report into the interception of communications has said.
The MI5 acquired data belonging to subscribers of 134 telephone numbers following a failure in software, Sir Paul Kennedy, Interception of Communications Commissioner, said.
“These errors were caused by a formatting fault on an electronic spreadsheet which altered the last three digits of each of the telephone numbers to ‘000’,” Sir Paul said in his annual review of how law enforcement agencies use legal powers to intercept communications in 2010 (63-page / 2.3MB PDF).
“These unfortunate errors were identified by the Security Service and duly reported,” he said.
“The subscriber data acquired had no connection or relevance to any investigation or operation being undertaken by the Security Service,” the review added.
Sir Paul said that the intelligence agency destroyed the material and fixed the “technical fault” within the spreadsheet. All Security Service requests for data are now checked manually before being sent to communication service providers to help reduce the likelihood of future errors, he said in his review.
Rules set out in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) state that law enforcement agencies, including the police and the MI5, can tap into phone, internet or email use to protect the UK’s national security interests, prevent and detect terrorism and serious crime or to safeguard the UK’s economic well-being.
Under the powers of the Act the Interception of Communications Commissioner must review how law enforcers use their RIPA powers.
Sir Paul also reported that information about 927 internet connections had been obtained by the Security Service despite being approved by insufficiently senior staff. He said the information gathered was about the history of internet use from those connections and had been approved for surveillance by officers ranked lower than the law demands because of an incorrect setting on the system used by the agency.
“This data was not obtained fully in accordance with the law and these errors were duly reported to my office,” Sir Paul said in his annual review.
“The Inspectors were satisfied that these errors had no bearing on the actual justifications for acquiring the data (i.e. the requests were necessary and proportionate),” Sir Paul said.
“The Security Service has corrected the setting on their system and this should prevent recurrence of such errors,” Sir Paul said.