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606th ACS suits up for AK 20 in Poland

Members of the 606th Air Control Squadron operate the squadron’s Theater Operationally Resilient Command and Control(TORCC) unit during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 21, 2020. Astral Knight 20 is the first time the 606th ACS and U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa have deployed the TORCC operationally. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)

Members of the 606th Air Control Squadron operate the squadron’s Theater Operationally Resilient Command and Control(TORCC) unit during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 21, 2020. Astral Knight 20 is the first time the 606th ACS and U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa have deployed the TORCC operationally. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)

Senior Airman Joshua Olortegui, 606th Air Control Squadron theater deployable communications technician, right, configures an executive communications kit during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 21, 2020. The ECK provides connectivity to a variety of mission-critical communication platforms. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)

Senior Airman Joshua Olortegui, 606th Air Control Squadron theater deployable communications technician, right, configures an executive communications kit during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 21, 2020. The ECK provides connectivity to a variety of mission-critical communication platforms. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)

Airman 1st Class Jonathan Maurer, 606th Air Control Squadron radio frequency transmissions technician, conducts radio checks before a mission during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 21, 2020. Astral Knight 20 is the premier U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa-sponsored Integrated Air and Missile Defense exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)

Airman 1st Class Jonathan Maurer, 606th Air Control Squadron radio frequency transmissions technician, conducts radio checks before a mission during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 21, 2020. Astral Knight 20 is the premier U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa-sponsored Integrated Air and Missile Defense exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Siliatu Lealiifano, 606th Air Control Squadron mission support flight chief, left, and Senior Airman Hunter Rickett, 606th ACS power pro technician, right, conduct daily checks on 806A power plants during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 21, 2020. The plants provide power to a variety of mission-essential equipment at the 606th ACS site. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Siliatu Lealiifano, 606th Air Control Squadron mission support flight chief, left, and Senior Airman Hunter Rickett, 606th ACS power pro technician, right, conduct daily checks on 806A power plants during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 21, 2020. The plants provide power to a variety of mission-essential equipment at the 606th ACS site. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jay Mastrud, 128th Air Control Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of radar, attempts to repair a cable during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 21, 2020. The 128th ACS, an Air National Guard unit, integrated with the 606th Air Control Squadron assigned to Aviano Air Base during Astral Knight 20. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jay Mastrud, 128th Air Control Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of radar, attempts to repair a cable during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 21, 2020. The 128th ACS, an Air National Guard unit, integrated with the 606th Air Control Squadron assigned to Aviano Air Base during Astral Knight 20. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)

Members of the 606th Air Control Squadron conduct a morning brief during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 21, 2020. Astral Knight 20 is a joint, multinational exercise involving Airmen and Soldiers from the United States working with service members from Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Sweden. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)

Members of the 606th Air Control Squadron conduct a morning brief during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 21, 2020. Astral Knight 20 is a joint, multinational exercise involving Airmen and Soldiers from the United States working with service members from Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Sweden. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)

MALBORK AIR BASE, Poland --

Exercise Astral Knight kicked off in Poland Sept. 21, 2020, and featured participants from several European partners and U.S. service branches. 

The exercise aims to enhance the command and control integration, coordination and interoperability of air, land and sea capabilities and overlapping operations into the integrated air and missile defense enterprise in Europe.

For the 606th Air Control Squadron assigned to Aviano Air Base, Italy, the start of the exercise was welcome. 

“It’s like game day,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Richard Fox, 606th Air Control Squadron deployed radar site lead. “Finally, we’re here. All of our preparation should take us into a good exercise.”

Operating out of Malbork Air Base, Poland, the 606th ACS’s role in Astral Knight 20 is critical, Fox said.

Utilizing their TPS-75 radar, the 606th ACS pulls airspace data and sends it to Airmen in the Control and Reporting Center at their homestation of Aviano Air Base, Italy. The Airmen will then communicate that data to pilots flying over Poland and use it to make crucial battle management decisions.

“We’re supporting AK 20 through our traditional 606th deployable radar and CRC method,” Fox said. “But we’re also testing out our new system called ‘TORCC.’”

The Theater Operationally Resilient Command and Control, or TORCC, allows the 606th ACS to accomplish the mission with increased agility.

“It takes 16 semis to get [our normal equipment] down here,” Fox said. “The TORCC takes more or less half a pallet.”

Astral Knight 20 marks the first time U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa will utilize the TORCC capability.

The 116th ACS assigned to Camp Rilea Armed Forces Training Center, Oregon, and the 128th ACS out of Volk Field Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin, also provided personnel to support the exercise.

“Our guys are well trained, and we’ve got great National Guard support, so we’re ready no matter what gets thrown at us,” Fox said.