AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates –
Three air expeditionary wings assigned to U.S. Air Forces Central participated in an integrated combat turn exercise, Feb. 13, 2021.
The ICT exercise specifically tested Airmen deployed as an instrument of Dynamic Force Employment, the 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, currently assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing here.
“Our Dynamic Force Employment squadrons consistently deliver combat airpower suited for the expeditionary and evolving character of this theater,” said Brig. Gen. Larry Broadwell, 380th AEW commander. “Because of its episodic nature, the DFE construct inherently provides operational unpredictability and a competitive edge for regional forces. DFE is a key accelerant to the changes we need in the future.”
DFE Airmen were challenged to execute a one-day, synchronized plan involving both airlift and fighter assets, as well as provide organic maintenance and logistics support for an ICT.
“An ICT is concurrent servicing of fuel and munitions, while aircraft engines are still running,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Justin Reese, 335th EFS director of maintenance. “ICTs are a force multiplier that produce higher sortie and strike capability across a range of contested environments, while minimizing the logistics footprint to support the aircraft.”
On the day of execution, maintainers and equipment from the 380th AEW were airlifted using 386th AEW C-130 Hercules aircraft from Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait. The group arrived at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar with just enough time to set up their own equipment and “turn” two F-15E Strike Eagles from the 335th EFS back into the air to execute an air tasking order.
Reese further explained that the whole exercise served as an Agile Combat Employment capstone event for the 335th EFS, which it had prepared to execute before the DFE deployment. The maintainers had tested and finalized tactics, techniques, and procedures for the last three years while at their home station at Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.
“Not only were the mission objectives accomplished, but this served as a proof of concept for in-theater ACE operations and set the stage for future capabilities,” said Reese.
Prior to the mission, maintenance professionals from the 379th AEW worked with their 380th AEW counterparts to plan the event.
“The 379th AEW were pivotal to the planning and success of our ACE demonstration. Their teams worked with our team to build a safe and executable plan for the event,” said 1st Lt. Garrett Parks, 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron sortie generation flight commander. “The teams collaborated to work through challenges and modify timelines and produced success on all sides.”