Battle Control System -- Korea attains full operational capability

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- After 20 months of systems testing and more than $500,000 spent, Lt. Gen. Stephen Wood, 7th Air Force commander declared that Battle Control System-Korea had attained "full operational capability." Battle Control System-Korea, known simply as BCS-K, is the weapons system used by members of the 621st Air Control Squadron to control all U.S. air assets over Korea.

The newly-operational system is the first system upgrade the 621st has had in more than 20 years and represents a huge leap in technology over their old control gear.

"This new system has a lot of advantages over what we used to use," said Maj. Andy Greenfield, 621st ACS director of operations. "One of the biggest advantages is this system takes a lot less time to teach new people coming into the squadron. Another is the computer equipment isn't proprietary -- we can purchase upgraded PCs to run the program from anywhere if something needs to be replaced."

He said the old system, known as Airedale, required the software and hardware to all come from the same company, so if something started to malfunction, the creator of the system was the only resource for fixing or buying new equipment.

The BCS-K system consists of two computer monitors and a touch screen communications panel. The two screens allow controllers to get a localized view of an area as well as see an overall view of what's happening on the Korean peninsula at the same time. The touch screen panel allows them to communicate with pilots and other assets in an expedited manner.

The system has already been successfully used in several local and peninsula-wide exercises. It was also used in the first AIM-9 missile shoot in the Korean theater.

"Along with the Airmen using this system, we have two Republic of Korea coordinators to work with the ROK Air Force, and we have a Soldier working as a liaison between us and the patriot batteries," Major Greenfield said. "All of this helps ensure the U.S. and ROK keep air superiority on the peninsula."

All of the 621st ACS innovations have earned them a PACAF-level nomination for the prestigious Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence Award in the special recognition category.