Sorbet’s background informs FAB-T acquisition
By Benjamin Newell, 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
/ Published August 13, 2018
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Having worked with weapons systems from the Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile to space-based communications, Col. Jonathan Sorbet recognizes the value of acquisition professionals who make risk management second nature.
Sorbet took over as senior materiel leader for a division of the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate responsible for procurement of the Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals, or FAB-T. He addressed approximately 50 of his subordinates during his inaugural all-call July 2 and ceremonially assumed leadership August 8.
“I’ve worked where people were assessing the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, and still wear the battle scars from that,” said Sorbet, referring to a stint at Orbital ATK, an aerospace company now owned by Northrop Grumman Corp. “Engineers would advise about not being able to test components at specific temperature thresholds, and the user said ‘Go ahead anyway,’ and so I heard some of the engineers talk about how culture can atrophy, and that can lead to very unfortunate events.” Sorbet said he wants to avoid that at FAB-T.
FAB-T provides U.S. leaders with secure, survivable satellite communication during all phases of nuclear conflict. FAB-T terminals communicate with milstar satellite communications systems and Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite systems via AEHF waveforms.
The new FAB-T system supports presidential and national voice conferencing, integrated tactical warning attack assessment, emergency action message dissemination, satellite telemetry, tracking and control and force report-back capabilities.
“I don’t want the division to be too alarmed by test events that find things,” said Sorbet. “If we’re doing everything right, we will find problems. That’s much better than fielding a system with problems built in.”