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Task Force Odin


Task Force ODIN Afghanistan TF ODIN was a United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) forward-deployed unit serving in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2017. TF ODIN was originally established in Iraq to counter IEDs. 

The task force consisted of four specially-equipped, highly-skilled aviation and intelligence companies and several detachments. These units operated highly sensitive sensor technology and distribute the intelligence products to supported units. The task force mission was to field and operate a family of manned and unmanned aerial platforms, sensors, and communication data links to transmit information to analysts who then turned that information into intelligence that was provided to the operational force and tactical units.

Origin of Task Force ODIN.  TF ODIN was first stood up by the US Army in Iraq in July 2007 (some sources say 2006) to counter the IED threat and to have an aviation unit more responsive to the Army's needs and operational requirements.  The general consensus among Army unit commanders is the Air Force supports the Army when it fits their concept of operations. 1. The task force was created by General Richard Cody, the US Army Vice Chief of Staff. The task force operated from Camp Speicher, Iraq (near Tikrit). Task Force ODIN Afghanistan was stood up in 2009.

Mission Focus. The mission of TF ODIN changed over time. It initially led and scnchronized ISR for the theater. However, as U.S. forces and intelligence structures reduced the TF picked up more functions and responsibilities - until is was doing ground ISR, counterintelligence, biometrics, captured equipment exploitation, and more. 5.

Task Force Thor. The Army assumed the command of some of the air assets of Task Force Odin in October 2014 with the stand up of Task Force Thor.

Task Force ODIN Dis-established. The Task Force was disbanded in March 2017. 5.

Aircraft and Aerial Platforms

King Air 300.  See WikipediaA's page on the King Air 300. These medium-altitude reconnaissance aircraft have been equipped with similar sensors as the Predator UAVs.  These light aircraft are more responsive to the Army's needs and are simple to fly. They are less expensive and easier to procur than the USAF Predators. Read more about the pilots who operate the King Air 300.

King Air 300 Task Force ODIN - Afghanistan
(Photo of King Air 300 bySSG Jack Carlson DVIDS)

A King Air 300 from Task Force ODIN - Afghanistan. This Beechcraft twin-turboprop aircraft provides ISR support.  There are approximately 11 300's in service with the Army as of late 2010.

Warrior Alpha.  The MQ-12 Sky Warrior is produced by General Atomics. This is a multi-mission UAV with features of the larger Predator A, but as a cheaper, less complex I-GNAT package. The platform is commonly called the Warrior Alpha. See also 3.

Task Force ODIN Warrior Alpha
(Photo of Warrior Alpha
by SSG Jack Carlson DVIDS)

Task Force ODIN operated a variety of unmanned aircraft to include the Warrior Alpha. It performed the functions of the Air Force Predator but is cheaper and controlled by the Army.

Technologies Used by Task Force ODIN

Constant Hawk.  This is a U.S. Army image analysis system.  It proved very successful in finding newly planted IEDs.  Constant Hawk uses a special video camera system to observe an area and find patterns of behavior utilizing change detection technology that assists in post-event analysis. The camera is a 96 megapixel. The systems can be mounted on aircraft of fixed ground positions. Similar programs include the Marine Corps "Angel Fire" and the Air Force "Highligher".  2.

RQ-5 Viper Strike. This GBU-44 is a small, precision attack munition with a 4-pound HEAT warhead.  It is currently carried by MQ-5B Hunter UAVs and other platforms. See WikipediA's page on the Viper Strike.  4.

Papers, Reports, and Publications about TF ODIN

Paolo Valpolini.  ISR in Afghanistan: SR Easier than I.  Armada International 2/2010. pages 46-50.  Accessed here on March 19, 2012.

Websites Related to TF ODIN

Task Force ODIN. By WikipediA. Accessed here.

Task Force ODIN. Canadian American Strategic Review.  Accessed here.

News Articles about TF ODIN

May 2, 2019. "Elite Drone & Attack Helicopter Task Force Still Hunts Taliban in Afghanistan", Warrior Maven. This article detailes the intel processes that guide attacks from the air in Afghanistan.

March 3, 2017.  "Task Force ODIN Transfer of Authority", DVIDS. Task Force ODIN officially reliquished the ISR mission for U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan in March 2017. The mission was handed over to the 525th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade (E-MIB) from Fort Bragg, N.C.

June 15, 2016. "Task Force ODIN welcomes a new commander", DVIDS.

October 15, 2014. "Find, fix and finish: Air Force MC-12W mission transitions to Army". DVIDS. Task Force Odin is replaced by Task Force Thor in Afghanistan.

February 28, 2014. "TF ODIN deploys to OEF". DVIDS.

May 30, 2012. "Rare Video Shows US Spyplane Used to 'Find, Fix, and Finish' Bad Guys". Business Insider. Info and video on the MC-12W Liberty ISR plane.

August 2, 2012. "Military Orders More King Air 350ER Aircraft".  Defense Industry Daily.

March 16, 2012.  "Task Force ODIN contributes to future Army aviation operations". DVIDS.

October 2, 2011.  "Walking Back the Cat: The US Army's Constant Hawk".  Defense Industry Daily.

June 19, 2011.  "US Military Orders More King Air 350ER Aircraft (MC-12)".  Defense Industry Daily.

March 11, 2011.  "Task force targets human network behind IEDs".

June 5, 2010.  "More on Task Force ODIN's Work on the Af/Pak Border". American at War.

June 2, 2010.  "Newest manned spy plane scores points in war effort".  USA Today.

October 7, 2009.  "L-3 Building Its Private ISR Force: Constant Hawk Afghanistan".  Aviation Week.

March 5, 2009.  "Army Killer Drone Takes First Shots in Combat". Danger Room.

January 15, 2009.  "Task Force ODIN: In the Valleys of the Blind ...".  Defense Industry Daily.

December 19, 2008.  "Afghanistan Attacked by the Math Machine".  Strategy Page.

June 22, 2008.  "At Odds With Air Force, Army Adds Its Own Aviation Unit". The New York Times.

November 20, 2006.  "Constant Hawk aims to thwart improvised explosive devices".




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1.  For the Army's discontent with the Air Force support in Iraq (and Afghanistan) see Counterinsurgency Legacy - US Army Aviation Supports Its own, US Air Force turns out to be too Tardy to be Tactically Useful, Canadian American Strategic Review (CASR), June 22, 2008.  Accessed here on March 19, 2012.

2.  For more info on the origins of Constant Hawk see Where did Constant Hawk come from?, The Edgefighter, August 27, 2010.  Accessed here on March 19, 2012.

3.  See more info on the I-GNAT ER/Sky Warrior Alpha on the General Atomics Aeronautical website.  Accessed here March 19, 2012.

4.  See more info in GBU-44 Viper Strike: Death From Above, Defense Industry Daily, January 17, 2012.  Accessed here March 19, 2012.

5. Read about the mission focus and dis-establishment of Task Force ODIN in "Task Force ODIN Transfer of Authority", DVIDS, March 26, 2017.


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