On the communications front line

Army satellite
Army satellite

AN RAF officer from Worksop is helping to ensure a new satellite is improving communications between ground troops and air support in Afghanistan.

Flight Lt Damien Handley, aged 26, is currently stationed in the war zone as a Joint Tactical Air Controller.

His job has just been made easier by the introduction of a new satellite which is providing extra communication channels to British forces.

The NATO satellite was switched on for the first time this week and gives two extra ultra high frequency channels that can be used in Afghanistan.

The satellite adds to the MoD’s three Skynet 5 series satellites which provide a worldwide satellite communication service.

Flt Lt Handley said: “I can use these satellite communications to talk from Afghanistan directly to operations centres and headquarters around the world. They are vital in the fight against insurgents, particularly to task aircraft in support of our frontline troops.”

“In the thick of battle we rely on good communications and more satellite channels will be a great boost.”

Commander Andy Titcomb, from MoD defence equipment and support, added: “Ultra high frequency satellite communications are a valuable resource and when it became known that NATO was about to fire this satellite into orbit, we jumped at the chance to see whether we could take ownership of this valuable asset and use it to support our troops in Afghanistan.”