US ARMY GARRISON BAUMHOLDER, Germany (AFNS) —
Military units from around the world recently took part in Noble Skywave, a global cyber competition, at the US Army’s Baumholder Garrison.
Noble Skywave is a multinational high frequency radio competition hosted by the Canadian Armed Forces.
This year’s competition brought together 429 military units from 13 nations to determine who could use high frequency radio technology most efficiently.
Each team was placed into one of three categories based on their radio station’s transmit power.
During the competition, teams set up a fully operational radio station and used their skills to connect to other radio stations, some thousands of miles away.
“There is a set number of stations that participate in this competition and our goal is to contact as many of them as possible,” said Matthew Recchia, Airman 1st Class, cyber infrastructure technician for the 1st Combat Communication Squadron. “Whoever contacts the most stations wins.”
High frequency radio technology and its operators are critical to the US military, allies and partners because they do not rely on traditional avenues of communication technology such as satellites or cell towers, which are vulnerable to weather conditions or an attack by an adversary.
If traditional ways of communication ever fail or become inoperable, high frequency radio comes into play. The technology works by bouncing radio waves off the ionosphere, a layer in the atmosphere that is electrically charged by the sun and enables communication between people who are far apart.
“Last year our furthest link was 11,700 kilometers away,” said Senior Airman Kelley Jay, 1st CBCS radio frequency transmission systems technician. “We used this radio technology to communicate from Germany with a radio station in Peru.”
The longest connection made by the 1st CBCS in this year’s competition was with New Zealand, some 18,000 kilometers away.
Most importantly, through the use of radio frequency technology, one can send documents, emails, orders, or anything else required for mission success.
Although competitive, Noble Skywave offers military partners the opportunity to come together to hone their skills towards a common goal, defense Nato Alliance.
“The purpose of the competition is to keep our high frequency radio skills up to date,” Jay said. “But it also ensures that the international communications community is interoperable and ready to respond effectively when the need arises.”
U.S. Forces in Europe live, train and operate with allies and partners from strategic locations across the continent to ensure a timely and coordinated response in peacetime and crisis.
In their category, 1st CBCS placed third with a total of 200 connections to other radio stations around the world via radio frequency radio.