Joint training strengthens air defense capability

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Andrew Kobialka
  • 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Stronger together. For decades, the superiority of the U.S. military has come from integrating the strengths of the military branches in joint operations.

To this effect, the U.S. Air Force 726th Air Control Squadron (ACS), from Mountain Home AFB, and U.S. Army 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade (ADA BDE), from Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, are integrating their radar, communication networks and defense systems to increase readiness and joint operation efficiency.

“Working with the Army ensures the safety of particular assets and regions,” said Capt. Nicholas Volz, 726th ACS chief of weapons and tactics. “The 726th’s radar offers earlier detection of potential threats, better capability to identify the nature of those threats and wider communications network to expedite the joint kill chain.”

A kill chain is the sequence of events that must take place to execute an attack.

The 31st ADA BDE’s primary role is to bring ground-to-air fire power at the end of that kill chain. They use a MIM-104 Patriot missile system, which is a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather air defense system to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft.

The 726th ACS control and reporting center (CRC) and 31st ADA BDE air defense artillery fire coordinators (ADAFCO) work together in real world scenarios, commonly in Central and Pacific Commands, where Air Force aircraft and the Patriot missile system may be required.

These combined capabilities offer greater security, deterrence and enhanced readiness, which is why several ADAFCO teams have spent eight days executing simulations with the 726th ACS. These Airmen and Soldiers deploy together so this experience is crucial to mission success.

“Putting a face builds esprit de corps with joint partners and helps foster a seamless transition when we co-locate downrange,” said U.S. Army Capt. Nathanael Agront, 31st ADA BDE air defense artillery fire control officer.

The 31st ADA BDE is the first to send multiple ADAFCO teams to Mountain Home AFB to train with the 726th ACS CRC. They are working toward gaining access to the joint training and experimentation network (JTEN). This will allow them to conduct joint training opportunities remotely from Mountain Home AFB and Fort Sill.

“JTEN allows this training experience and interpersonal relationships to continue to progress and develop without waiting for joint training events,” Agront said.

Cultivating joint operations requires the continuance of proven training, but can be improved upon by implementing new ways of training, like remote joint training opportunities.

At the end of the day, prioritizing joint operations keeps the U.S. Air Force a multi-faceted world leader that’s capable of mobilizing the best assets available to complete the mission.