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ATC boosts knowledge with ATNAVICS

By Cpl. Brady Wood | | February 7, 2014

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Marines with Marine Air Control Squadron 2, Detachment A, trained with the Air Traffic Navigation, Integration and Coordination System aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Jan. 27. The training was in partnership with the Georgia Air National Guard 165th Airlift Wing.

The AN/TPN-31(V) 5 Air Traffic Navigation Integration and Coordination System provides Marine Forces with a highly mobile all weather radar Air Traffic Control system that acquires and displays sensor data required for the conduct of precision and surveillances approach operations.

It is the world’s only fully autonomous radar approach control system transportable in a single C-130 aircraft. It provides a rapid ATC response for both tactical operations and civil disasters.

It provides the communications needed by Air Traffic Controllers to give control instructions to aircraft and coordinate with higher headquarters and adjacent facilities. This system entered into service with the Marine Corps in 2007.

The airport surveillance radar, which is one part of the ATNAVICS, can track a minimum of 150 aircraft and has a primary range of 25 nautical miles with a line of sight of 10,000 ft. above ground level.

The secondary surveillance radar/identification friend or foe, which is another part of the ATNAVICS, provides 360 degrees of azimuth coverage and has a range of 60 knots up to 60,000 ft. above ground level and can track a maximum of 536 aircraft.

The ATNAVICS shows its value during an aircraft’s final approach. The final approach is the last 10-15 miles of an aircraft’s flight and also when the aircraft goes through the most severe weather.

"The ATNAVICS is a very valuable piece of equipment," said 2nd Lt. Matthew Duncan, the air traffic control mobile team leader for MACS-2, Det. A. "It gives us a lot more capability regarding weather conditions in that it allows us to operate in less than visual flight rules, or VFR conditions."

Sgt. Rafael Nepaulsingh, an air traffic approach controller with MACS-2, Det. A., said he had high hopes that the Marines working alongside him would be able to take something away from the training.

"I was hoping that this training would allow us to increase the knowledge of the other Marines," said Nepaulsingh. "I also wanted the air traffic controllers to feel comfortable with using the ATNAVICS to help a pilot in their last stage of flight."

According to Nepaulsingh, many good things came out of the training.

"The training was phenomenal," said Nepaulsingh. "Not only did it affect our operation tempo, but I am now confident in our detachment’s ability to do anything from the ATNAVICS to ATC Marine Mobile Team operations. We are ready for anything."

Duncan, who also serves as the ATC operations officer for MACS-2 Det. A, said he believes that with repeated ATNAVICS training, it will greatly increase the detachment’s operational readiness.

The Marines of MACS-2 hope to repeat the training monthly in order to perfect the new capabilities that the system will bring to the table.


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