Military News

Friday, February 06, 2015

Air National Guard, Air Force participate in Navy's future of warfighting scenarios

by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons
116th Air Control Wing

2/4/2015 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The Air Force E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft, also known as JSTARS, flown by the Air National Guard's 116th Air Control Wing and Air Force's 461st ACW, participated in naval exercises here Jan. 30 to enhance joint-service training in a contested environment.

The Navy's Composite Training Unit Exercise tested crews' ability to respond to a variety of threats for which the E-8C Joint STARS long range radar capability provided land and sea radar information to the Navy's Carrier Strike Group 4 based out of Norfolk, Virginia.

"Six years ago when we initiated the Air Force/Navy integration effort, the E-8C was one of the first Air Force aircraft to participate," said one of the seasoned JSTARS Liaison Officers. "Being on the ship, I saw how JSTARS was looked at as the expert in now what is known as Navy JAM-GC, short for Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons."

Supporting the new joint warfare concept, JSTARS joined more than ten different aircraft types, providing one-of-a-kind command and control, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and battle management capabilities.

Flying on board JSTARS was Navy Lt. j.g. John Duffner, a naval flight officer with the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 126 out of Norfolk.

"The precision of the radar and the sheer size of the crew on JSTARS enables them to do more things simultaneously than we can do," said Duffner. "It's been a very interesting week and I definitely know a lot more about how JSTARS works than I did before and I've been impressed."

During the missions, the naval aviator received hands-on training and got to compare the Navy E-2C Hawkeye aircraft command and control platform that he's accustomed to with the JSTARS platform.

"I came here as a liaison officer to gain a better understanding of what JSTARS can do so I can take it back to my squadron and see how we can work together to better accomplish our mission set "said Duffner. "I was also able to help the JSTARS crewmembers gain a better understanding of how the Navy does things."

The U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) along with its carrier strike group (CSG-12), shipped out to sea Jan. 8 to begin a series of exercises designed to prepare the ship's crew for deployment later this year.

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