55th Wing units demonstrate ACE capabilities with exercise in Norway

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  • By 55th Wing Public Affairs

The 95th Reconnaissance Squadron, from Air Combat Command's Offutt Air Force Base and 488th Intelligence Squadron tested their Agile Combat Employment capabilities by deploying an RC-135V/W Rivet Joint to Ørland Air Station, Norway, as part of Exercise Dagger Fjord May 8-12, 2023.

This was the first Rivet Joint ACE exercise to a NATO country outside the United Kingdom and demonstrated the unit’s ability to rapidly deploy to unfamiliar operating locations.

“Dagger Fjord really opened new partnerships and avenues for mission planning and execution, and RC-135 operating locations,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Beha, 95th RS commander.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with how things went, and we look forward to building upon this in the future,” said Lt. Col. Bradley Higby, 488th IS commander.

After launching from RAF Mildenhall, the RJ landed at Ørland and executed three missions before returning to its home station.

“To limit the forward deployed footprint, home station staff support was provided remotely from Mildenhall including mission directors, squadron aviation resource managers, unit-support intel and a mission planning cell,” Higby said.

A NATO E-3A AWACS unit at Ørland provided additional maintenance and communication support during the exercise.

“Norway was an excellent host nation partner supporting transportation, lodging, dining and other logistics,” Beha said.

More than 50 personnel supported the exercise, including security forces personnel from the 501st Combat Support Wing and airlift and communications Airmen from the 100th Air Refueling Wing.

“The 501st was looking for an opportunity to support ACE initiatives and without the 100th Air Refueling Wing, the exercise simply would not have happened,” Beha said. “Both units were absolutely crucial to our success.”

With the success of this exercise, the 95th RS and 488th IS are now looking to further expand their ACE capabilities.

“Our future ACE exercises and initiatives will focus on furthering the capabilities of operating and maintaining the RC-135 without typical aerospace ground equipment, usage of multi-capable Airmen concepts for security forces and reactive maneuver,” Beha said.

“Use of mobile communication suites with more diverse capabilities will further enable RC-135 operations throughout the AOR with little to no support from home station,” Higby said.