Pathfinders install resilient telecommunication network at RAF Fairford

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jennifer Zima
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

The 501st Combat Support Wing Plans and Programs Office is working with contractors to install new communication lines throughout the grounds at RAF Fairford, England.

They broke ground April 21 and are scheduled to complete the project by the end of 2021. As RAF Fairford’s mission and workforce expands, a more resilient network system is needed to withstand the increased traffic demands.

“This project will create resilient communication capabilities and increase bandwidth on both the main base and [dormitory area],” said Daniel Aguirre, 501st CSW XP Office chief of program integration at RAF Fairford. “There hasn’t been a serious upgrade of communications at Fairford since about 2001. After we’re done, we’ll have a communications network that’s second to none in the Air Force.”

The entire project is divided into three phases. The first phase, Area 14, is intended to be finished in July. The second and third phases are located on the flight line. This summer, the engineers are scheduled to produce a design for the rest of the base.

“What we’re doing now is the foundation, because on top of this foundation is where we install all of the new switches and equipment and everything that is the inside part of the plan,” said Jeffrey Bauer, 501st CSW XP Office telecommunications project manager.

Hardening a network means establishing communication systems that are diverse and resilient.

“If we do our job right, they [people on base] won’t notice anything,” said Aguirre. “It will be just like it was before, only a little bit faster and a bit more capacity. Bandwidth will be more or less unlimited. They will not be able to build enough buildings and put enough equipment on here to saturate the network. It will be the fastest, latest, most up-to-date fiber that you can get for buying next generation equipment to replace existing equipment.”

RAF Fairford his home to the 420th Air Base Squadron, which provides unparalleled mission support to receive, bed down and sustain deployed forces to enable U.S. and NATO warfighters to conduct a full spectrum of flying operations. Known as the premier bomber Forward Operating Location for U.S. Air Forces in Europe, RAF Fairford has been used by the U.S. Air Force nearly continuously since it was first built for D-Day operations in 1944.