Marines set up and used an AN/TPN-31A V7 Air Traffic Navigation, Integration, and Coordination System for the first time July 17, 2017 during a week-long training exercise at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina.
The system is an expeditionary radar system capable of tracking and distinguishing between friendly and enemy aircraft as far out as approximately 60 miles away, allowing Marines to establish and maintain a runway with air traffic control capabilities in diverse areas of operation.
The Marines are assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Air Station Cherry Point and Marine Air Control Squadron 2, Marine Air Control Group 28, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
The ATNAVICS has a sensor pallet with a radar dish that can is used for surveillance and precision radar tracking task. It is hooked up to a humvee with an operator shelter pop-up; which allows Marines to correctly calibrate, monitor, and operate the equipment.
“This is the expeditionary version of final control equipment,” said Lance Cpl. Evan Kowalski, an air traffic controller assigned to Air Traffic Control Crew 2, H&HS.
“We’re actually kind of jealous of the expeditionary equipment [MACS-2 uses regularly]. It’s a digital display which helps immensely. Hopefully, this becomes a more regular thing; this is really good training for everyone involved.”
Normally employed at Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, this is the first time the ATNAVICS has been used aboard MCAS Cherry Point, providing the ATC Marines valuable hands-on training with the radar system that most would not receive unless preparing for a deployment.
According to Lance Cpl. Dustin Leverett, this system provides an expeditionary capability to Marines as it can be deployed around the globe and working within 24 hours.
“It gives us the capability to deploy anywhere, and get troops on the ground wherever they need to be,” said Leverett, a radar technician assigned to Detachment Charlie, MACS-2.”We can set up a runway and have air traffic control capabilities anywhere in the world.”
The ATNAVICS will be used by ATC Marines for roughly a month as an arrival and final approach radar, which will pass control of the aircraft to the ATC tower during the take-off, landing, and taxing sequence of events.