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    Air Force exercises unprecedented aircraft landing, rearming on active U.S. highway

    Aircraft landing along highway during Northern Strike 21

    Photo By Master Sgt. Scott Thompson | An A-10 Thunderbolt II from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, takes off on a...... read more read more

    ALPENA, MI, UNITED STATES

    08.13.2021

    Story by Master Sgt. Lealan Buehrer 

    182nd Airlift Wing

    There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. Yes, what you saw and heard is true. Today, the U.S. Air Force landed fighter and special operations aircraft on Michigan State Highway M-32 outside Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center.

    It wasn’t an emergency landing. Rather, they did it on purpose, to show that it was possible.

    In keeping with the high tradition of innovative training, the Northeast Michigan’s National All Domain Warfighting Center conducted a controlled landing of four Air National Guard and active duty Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II and two Air Force Special Operations Command C-146 Wolfhound aircraft on a U.S. highway for the first time in history Aug. 5, 2021.

    “We think we’re the best air force out there, but we know that we have to train hard to be prepared for the fight for tomorrow,” said Air Force Col. Matt Robins, the commander of the 127th Operations Group, Michigan Air National Guard. “This is the first time we’ve been able to put — in training — the concept of Agile Combat Employment on a highway in the United States.”

    The aircraft models themselves were selected for their specific mission sets and applications to the warfight.

    The A-10 Thunderbolt II, sometimes known as “a machine gun with wings,” is a twin-engine jet aircraft specially designed for close air support of ground forces. It’s highway counterpart today, the C-146 Wolfhound, is used for operational movement of small teams and cargo in support of Theater Special Operations Commands.

    Using these aircraft in the cutting-edge M-32 exercise outside Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center provided a proof of concept in forward arming, refueling and landing in austere conditions — a flex in what’s becoming known in Air Force circles as “Agile Combat Employment”.

    “[The exercise] gave us the opportunity to disperse our forces as if we were under simulated attack and complicate targeting for the enemy to demonstrate that we are ready always and everywhere, which now means anywhere,” said Robins.

    The objective of mastering Agile Combat Employment, or ACE, is to increase survivability and generate combat power while leveraging proactive and reactive resources within a threat. Or in other words, to win the fight smarter and faster. Achieving that combat readiness is what the National All Domain Warfighting Center aims to provide — a place where innovation and readiness training go to be born.

    Its combined land, air and maritime all-domain training environment provides joint-force, multinational opportunities to hone in skills critical to the warfighting ability of allied forces in a way unseen anywhere else east of the Mississippi.

    “Being able to do this in our own backyard here in Michigan — with our own local neighbors’ support and enthusiasm — shows that we can do it here, and we’ll be able to do it anywhere,” said Robins.

    In addition to the catalyst of Michigan’s premiere training environment, the unprecedented event was made possible by the unwavering support of the community, the unmatched
    airspace that northern Michigan provides, as well as the support of community leaders,
    business and other support agencies.

    “On behalf of the entire CRTC team, I’d like to extend our gratitude for the outstanding support we enjoy from our civil partners and the local community. Without you, this historic training event would not be possible,” said Air Force Col. James Rossi, the commander of Alpena CRTC. “To the awesome employees of the Alpena CRTC who’ve worked tirelessly to plan and execute this event, please accept my sincere ‘thank you’. Your continued dedication to providing a unique, high quality training environment ensures our Air Force and joint partners remain ready for the high-end fight.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.13.2021
    Date Posted: 08.13.2021 12:41
    Story ID: 403028
    Location: ALPENA, MI, US 

    Web Views: 285
    Downloads: 1

    PUBLIC DOMAIN