November 9, 2017 (by SrA Cassie Whitman) - The 18th Aggressor Squadron sent approximately 150 personnel and 11 F-16 Fighting Falcon to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to support the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, specifically the F-16 weapons instructor course.
USAF F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 18th AGRS at Eielson AFB, Alaska, sit on the Nellis AFB, flightline on November 3, 2017. The 18th AGRS are currently TDY to Nellis in support of the USAF Weapons School’s F-16 Weapons Instructor Course. [USAF photo by Susan Garcia]
"The USAF Weapons Instructor Course was founded as a center of excellence for tactical aviation," said Lt. Col. Ryan Nudi, the 354th Operations Group deputy commander. "In an effort to provide the most demanding tactical aviation course, the school needs world-class adversary air. The 18th AGRS
support this course by partnering with other adversary squadrons to provide the WIC students a premier near-peer adversary to train against."
The 18th AGRS temporary assignment to Nellis directly supports the wing commander's priority of premier air exercises and adversary support. Lt. Col. Gregory Keller, the 18th AGRS commander, agrees with Nudi by stating the aggressors participation is essential in providing the most realistic adversary threat replication possible.
Not only does the course train in adversary support, but it also helps prepare U.S. forces for the dynamic, ever-changing challenges of 21st century combat.
"The WIC teaches students the skills necessary to integrate combat power across multiple domains," said Keller. "In modern warfare, it is impossible to win a war by focusing on only one aspect of combat power; the 6-month course challenges students to not only become tactical experts in their own weapons system, but also how to integrate their unique skill sets with those of other Air Force and sister service units."
While the aggressors are mainly at the weapons school as a support asset, they still benefit from the course and are able to take what they learned back to the snow-covered Eielson landscape.
"Every time the aggressors go TDY, we challenge ourselves with new scenarios and new environments to work out of," said Keller. "Additionally, TDYs allow our operations and maintenance teams to work in collaboration to accomplish the mission without the comforts and advantages our home station provides."
The aggressors are scheduled to participate in several more exercises before the upcoming RED FLAG-Alaska season, which will entail four joint exercises during the 2018 calendar year.