Navy deploys mobile HQ to support East Timor peacekeeping

The Navy has deployed a mobile command post packed with computers and equipped with long-haul communications systems to Darwin, Australia, in support of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in East Timor.

The command post, designated AN-MSQ-126 and designed to serve as the mobile headquarters of the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, arrived in Darwin early this morning on a giant Air Force C-5 cargolifter, along with 17 workers required to operate the system, according to a spokesman for the Pacific Fleet.

Adm. Archie Clemins, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, said the Australian armed forces developed extensive experience with the mobile unit in two joint U.S./Australian exercises, code-named Tandem Thrust, in 1997 and 1999. Pacific Fleet installed the AN-MSQ-126 command post at Australia's Shoalwater Bay training area for the 1997 exercise, Clemins said.

The AN-MSQ-126 provides long-haul connectivity through a UHF tactical satellite terminal. It also provides UHF line-of-sight communications, VHF-FM for short-range communications and HF single sideband communications, used in the Tandem Thrust exercises to send and receive e-mail from Australian ships not equipped with satellite terminals.

Two Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelters in the AN-MSQ-126 provide work space for a command staff, while two Humvees serve as mobile computer centers and switching vans. It takes six hours or less to set up and make operational all the systems in the AN-MSQ-126, according to the Pacific Fleet.

The AN-MSQ-126 provides users with 48 telephones capable of accessing the Defense Department's worldwide Defense Switched Network, five laptop computers connected to DOD's Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, 15 laptop computers connected to the DOD Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network, and two high-powered workstations connected to the Global Command and Control System. The command post also provides commanders with video teleconferencing capabilities and connection to DOD's classified automated digital network.

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