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    104FW Airmen attend Nellis Air Force Base for weapons school integration exercise, test new air combat tactics

    104FW Airmen attend Nellis Air Force Base for weapons school integration exercise, test new air combat tactics

    Courtesy Photo | Members of the 104th Fighter Wing attend USAF weapons school integration exercise,...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    104th Fighter Wing

    BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts – Members of the 104th Fighter Wing attended the two-week USAF weapons school integration exercise from April 6, 2024, to April 20, 2024, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. This exercise combined multiple squadrons to test and determine the functionality of new air combat tactics through offensive and defensive counterair measures while using both fourth-generation and fifth-generation aircraft.
    Maj. James ‘Mongoose’ Hurley, 131st Fighter Squadron Weapons Officer, stressed the significance of the exercise through the potential for fourth generation fighter units to provide air combat support to fifth-generation aircraft for future missions.
    “We received an invite from the 433rd Weapons Squadron and the 17th Weapons Squadron there for the F-22 Raptor and F-15E Strike Eagle, respectively,” said Hurley. “Our role within the exercise was to integrate with them to focus on advanced-threat defensive counterair the first week and offensive counterair the second week. Overall, our goal here was to provide the sensor, as well as the fourth-generation role in that against fourth and fifth-generation fighter integration.”
    Providing fourth-generation fighter F-15 support in the exercise effectively enables the Air Force to practice and analyze the validity of the new air tactics listed in the Air, Land, Sea, and Space application fighter integration doctrine. This also enables the weapons school students at Nellis to learn these new tactics and be able to teach them to their respective future units when they graduate.
    “Helping to be the platform that validates the new tactics, whether its operational tests or the weapons school is great,” said Hurley. “But when you bring in units like us who are going to be the ones to get called on to do it, it’s crucial we have invaluable experience in practicing it.”
    By having as many as 25-30 sorties per day, the Air Force can effectively analyze how fourth-generation fighters can provide critical support to fifth-generation fighters through combat and tactics integration.
    “While the fifth-generation fighters are certainly capable, they are limited in their gas and missiles,” said Hurley. "If we talk about how fourth-generation can to enable that, we have extra missiles, extra sensors that we can use to support them, in so doing making everyone more lethal and survivable than they would be if they were doing so standalone.”
    The exercise provided the 104FW with valuable lessons and experience in practicing integrating with the weapons school students and having the ability to sit through their brief, debrief, and mission planning. Through this integration, the Air Force is better equipped to test, validate, and adjust.
    “It’s definitely a valuable experience to get to learn the latest tactics they’re coming out with from the weapons school,” said Hurley. “The validation of the new tactics manual and just learning exactly how best to do it with the changes happening daily as we progress and work our way closer to what looks right. Overall, this was the most useful temporary duty assignment I’ve been on, tactically speaking since I’ve been here.”


    Date Taken: 05.02.2024
    Date Posted: 05.02.2024 13:09
    Story ID: 470132

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