302nd Communications Flight brings high-speed internet to African Lion 2024

  • Published
  • By Philip Regina
  • U.S. Army Southern European Task Force

For the first time, U.S. and partner forces participating in exercise African Lion 2024 (AL24) in Ghana are leveraging high-speed satellite internet to establish high-bandwidth connectivity at their remote training locations. This initiative is providing troops with critical internet capabilities in one of the most austere areas of northern Ghana.

"Reliable communications are absolutely vital for conducting combined joint operations like African Lion," said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Fabricio Monterroso, the communications manager for AL24 in Ghana. "This technology is a game-changer, allowing us to establish a stable internet pipeline with high throughput from literally anywhere on the globe."

This year marks the 20th anniversary of U.S. Africa Command's premier and largest annual, combined, joint exercise African Lion. The exercise takes place April 19 through May 31 and is hosted across Morocco, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia with more than 8,100 participants from over 27 nations and contingents from NATO. As African Lion continues to grow, connectivity and high-speed communication become even more important, especially in outlying rural areas.

A U.S. Air Force Reserve team from the 302nd Communications Flight, 302nd Airlift Wing, at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, was requested to provide their specialized capability to support the U.S. Army and address communications challenges during AL24. The airmen provided personnel, a satellite terminal and end-user equipment to support exercise locations in Damongo and Tamale.

"We're connecting joint and multinational forces to establish command and control communications with all of the satellite's low-Earth orbital capabilities," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Wagoner, noncommissioned officer in charge of communications infrastructure. "It's rapidly accelerating our data speeds compared to the limited bandwidth we normally have in an austere environment."

U.S. Senior Airmen Derek Bautista and Thomas Langley were two of the on-site communications experts responsible for the satellite integration.

"With broadband internet enabled by this technology, we're able to leverage calibration with partner nations through video teleconferencing and cloud services—the possibilities are endless for digitally enabled multi-domain operations," said Bautista, a data operations specialist, 302nd Communications Flight.

"In the past, this kind of technology just didn't exist for forward-deployed units," added Langley, a client systems technician with the same unit. "Secure, reliable connectivity like this is a total force multiplier."

SETAF-AF serves as a dedicated headquarters under U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Army Europe & Africa, coordinating Army activities across Africa to provide scalable crisis response options.

For further details on SETAF-AF's activities, please visit www.setaf-africa.army.mil.