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    Northern Edge 19: Pilots hone skills over Alaskan training ranges

    Northern Edge 2019 wraps up

    Photo By Senior Airman Eric Fisher | A U.S. Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron flies...... read more read more



    Story by Senior Airman Eric Fisher 

    Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

    Northern Edge 2019, held at Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, began May 13, 2019, and concluded after two weeks of joint training and total force integration.

    The exercise, which dates back to 1993, utilizes training areas in Alaska with approximately 65,000 square miles of available airspace; 2,500 square miles of land and 42,000 square nautical miles of surface, subsurface and overlying airspace, which are unmatched anywhere else in the United States.

    “Northern Edge is a joint training exercise that allows aviators and other operators to train against a very robust adversary threat scenario which gives them an opportunity to hone their skills and improve upon the areas which need it,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Larin Wong, a Pacific Air Forces planner for NE19. “This biennial exercise really allows our force to practice new tactics and techniques for future combat operations and weapons employment.”

    This year, more than 10,000 personnel, 200 aircraft and five naval ships from more than 25 units across the globe participated in NE19, allowing them to hone their combat skills over the Gulf of Alaska and on the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex.

    During the exercise, adversarial support, or “red air”, was provided by both the U.S. Air Force 18th Aggressor Squadron F-16C Fighting Falcons and Airborne Tactical Advantage Company MK-58 Hawker Hunters to afford realistic training opportunities to friendly, or “blue air” units.

    “We are the primary threat replicators during this exercise,” said Lt. Col. Jason Monaco, 18th Aggressor Squadron commander. “It’s [Indo Pacific Command’s] largest joint exercise which occurs every two years. The reason it’s such a big deal is because it allows all these units to come from around the world and then use the over-water airspace, over-land airspace, threat simulator actors and ranges. Northern Edge provides unmatched training for all the pilots and support members involved.”

    In normal exercises “blue air” pilots are pulled to act as “red air” in order to provide enough opposition force to train against. Monaco says, this is minimized by bringing in dedicated threat replicators to provide more pilots from each “blue air” unit the realistic combat training required to maintain readiness and ensure lethality.

    Additionally, this allowed joint force units from the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy to train together and enhance interoperability between the branches.

    “It’s a joint fight,” said Wong. “That is why being in Alaska is so advantageous to us, I don’t think we have another space that has as big of a training area combining air, land and sea. Being here allows us opportunities to work communication lines and practice command and control of both air and ground working a coordinated fight with air and sea to make sure we can utilize the right tactics and perfect our capabilities as a force.”

    Wong said the lessons from the exercise benefit more than just the participating units because individuals who experience this training are able to take their new tactics, procedures and inter-service experiences with them as they move on to in their careers to units throughout the world.

    For more information and imagery about NE19 visit,



    Date Taken: 05.22.2019
    Date Posted: 05.28.2019 22:14
    Story ID: 323589

    Web Views: 164
    Downloads: 1