HQ USAFE-AFAFRICA hosts EOD training for Airmen across Europe

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Trevor Calvert
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa Explosive Ordnance Disposal Program Office hosted training for EOD Airmen from Aviano, Ramstein, Spangdahlem, Incirlik and Lakenheath Air Bases, here, May 1-3, 2024.

The three-day course trained Airmen on the capabilities and operation of ShadowBox Alpha and Delta mobile servers running the Android Tactical Awareness Kit (TAK). These systems allow data to be passed in real-time between devices through a secure connection and without the need for larger infrastructure.

“The training was primarily focused on getting mobile TAK server capabilities to our teams,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Matthew Workoff, HQ USAFE-AFAFRICA EOD advanced programs manager. “The ShadowBox Alpha and Delta allows them to have greater situational awareness, mapping tools and the ability to pass position location anywhere within the command.”

Airmen across USAFE-AFAFRICA will integrate the newly implemented technology with their MPU5 software-defined radios and AN/PSC-15 secure fly-away kits to enhance their communication capabilities, replacing older models.

“We currently don’t have a real time mapping application or system that we can talk to each other on other than traditional radios,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman D’andre Goodson, 786th CES EOD team member. “We really learned this week about how to set these servers up and utilize the new technology we have. This technology gives us the ability to have really good turnover when it comes to getting missions done.”

EOD technicians within the command can now use this suite of systems to establish and maintain constant communications to and from anywhere in the world. Teams can take photos and videos, and pass that data to other ground units operating locally, or back to the server where leaders can access it for situational awareness.

“In the past, our teams were typically only provided with a single capability, so when that one system goes down, they lose the ability to communicate,” Workoff said. “This new concept provides an entire suite of systems that are robust, self-forming and self-healing, that doesn’t rely on other people. If we can’t receive orders, we can’t execute orders.”

Workoff explained that aging command, control and communication capabilities, translates to less effective mission execution. This new technology will help get the mission done – faster and better.