December 3, 2014 (by TSgt. Caycee Watson) - Nearly 200 Airmen and more than a dozen block 52 F-16 Fighting Falcon jets traveled across the country to train with the U.S. Navy Carrier Air Wing One (CVW 1) who is preparing for an upcoming deployment aboard Aircraft Carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt next spring.
USAF members from the 169th FW and SCANG are deployed to NAS Fallon, Nevada, to support Naval Carrier Air Wing One with pre-deployment fighter jet training, integrating the F-16’s suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) capabilities with U.S. Navy fighter pilots. [USAF photo by TSgt. Caycee Watson]
CVW 1 was at Naval Air Station Fallon for what is comparable to the all-too-familiar readiness inspections, like the Certified Readiness Evaluation the 169th Fighter Wing just finished.
So...why immerse the SCANG into Navy training?
"The air wing commander realized that where ever they go to war, there will be Block 50s around. So instead of figuring out how to communicate and work with other air frames when they get there, he wanted to train together to figure out in advance how Block 50s can protect and enhance the capabilities of his air wing," said Lt. Col. Walter Meares, 157th Fighter Squadron director of operations.
SCANG block 52
F-16 Fighting Falcons took off daily to fly training missions with U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets, EA-18G Growler electronic jamming aircraft and the Navy's brand new E-2D Hawkeye early warning and surveillance aircraft.
Meares said this was the first time this combination of Navy and Air Force assets have come together in pre-deployment training to incorporate the F-16's suppression and destruction of enemy air defenses (SEAD and DEAD) capabilities with the Navy's strike mission.
"It was a successful deployment for Carrier Air Wing One, and they got a real appreciation for what our capabilities as the U.S. Air Force with the SEAD mission brings to the fight," said Meares. "And everyone will come out smarter and more lethal because we've trained together."
The SCANG demonstrated reactive SEAD in strike warfare, a capability the Navy is working toward. This training was valuable in creating an increased understanding of how the Navy works should Swamp Fox Airmen find themselves deployed and the need to protect Navy assets arises.
"I'm confident that if on day one we meet the 157th, or a unit with the same capabilities down range, we're going to be successful," said Capt. William Ewald, commander of Carrier Air Wing One. "We're learning how to work together and speak the same language, and that effectiveness in combat is where we're going to see success after having done this training together."
Both units were able to learn from each other by training jointly. Navy aviators gained insight on how the Air Force performs advanced SEAD and Swamp Fox pilots were exposed to how the Navy engages their target.
"We solidly contributed to the efforts of the carrier air wing and what they were doing and helped increase their lethality and survivability," said Lt. Col. Akshai Gandhi, 157th Fighter Squadron commander. "We are just scratching the surface of what these two services can do when we work together."
There were no Navy assets lost to simulated enemy surface-to-air missiles while the SCANG was flying because of the Swamp Fox's mastery of suppression of enemy air defenses capabilities.
Swamp Fox Airmen worked long and demanding hours throughout the days to achieve 100 percent of the 117 scheduled sorties, totaling 151.7 flying hours.
"We're going to be better as a nation by defending what we believe is right and we do that by knowing what the strengths and weaknesses are and how those can be best capitalized," said Ewald.
Once again...Semper Primus, Swamp Fox!