08/25/2011: A key element for mission success is an ability to support the deployment with key service support capabilities. Airman Parry provided an introduction into the support services role and equipment.
Photo Credit: SLD 2011
Airman Parry: I hate acronyms, so I’m only going to try to give you one. This is the HELAMS. It’s a hard-side expandable light air mobile shelter. It’s a glorified trailer or a mobile command post.
SLD: So we are entering your mobile command post now?
Airman Parry: Yes. Everything that happens out on the ramp with the planes comes through here first. We use it, because it’s got a 360-view with all these windows. The covers come down in case we’re running something secure in here.The SPICE pallet you just saw out there, sometimes we’ll put it in here. You can run SPICE from one side. We’ve got this fancy little curtain that also helps it stay secure.
Airman Bowman: The SPICE of the HELAMS is strictly dedicated to the CRW operation. We provide services such as NIPRNET which is regular internet and SIPRNET which is classified internet. We provide voice support over phones, which is voice over IP. We are supported by by a 1.8 meter satellite dish which can use either an X-band, C-band or X-band feed. X-band is strictly military.On a typical mission we will set up with a combination to support six NIPPER computers and six SIPER computers and three phones.
SLD: How long does this take to set up?
Airman Parry: Actually, once the plane hits the ground, we’ll have a few hours to get all of our equipment set up. We get our HELAMS set up, the shelter ready, all of our equipment up and running.
SLD: So how mission ready are you?
Airman Parry: Right now we have two HELAMS ready to go out the door.
SLD: On what airlifters can you package the equipment? C-130s or C-17s?
Airman Parry: It goes on anything, C-130, C-17, C-5. It can be loaded on all of them.
SLD: The HELAMS provides a good mobile support package, it seems?
Airman Parry: They’re nice. The wheel sets just come right off. Everything’s electrically powered, so it makes it a lot easier to operate. Actually, once we get them off, they have the ability to be married together, so that you just have wheels and you can get it out of the way once we get it set up as the shelter. And the antennas attach directly to the HELAMS.
SLD: So you can set up your mobile command post to support a variety of communications needs inside the HELAMS?
Airman Parry: We have several different capabilities. We can run line of sight, if I see you, I can talk to you, we can do DAMA using satellites. We have a HF radio, which can hit the sky and bounces back down to wherever you’re going.