Aggressor Squadrons article

Feel free to discuss anything here - as long as it is F-16 related.
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

rapier01

Enthusiast

Enthusiast

  • Posts: 92
  • Joined: 10 Nov 2005, 02:43

Unread post29 Apr 2009, 22:07

I'll post part two (the cool part ) tomorrow when its done. In the meantime, enjoy:


A flight of Aggressor F-15s and F-16s fly in formation on June 5th, 2008 over the Nevada Test and Training Range. The jets are assigned to the 64th and 65th Aggressor squadrons at Nellis AFB. [USAF photo by MSgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald]


examiner.com wrote:The Aggressors: Someone has to play the bad guy. Part One
Dave Majumdar
NY Military and Civil Aviation Examiner

Borne out of the lessons of the disastrous air war over Vietnam, the United States Air Force (USAF) 57th Adversary Tactics Group (ATG) exists to prepare American airmen for the threats they will face over the modern battlefield. Consisting of nine aggressor squadrons, the 57th ATG is “threat central” for the USAF, says Colonel Andrew “Drifter” Toth, the unit’s commander.

The Group includes two flying squadrons, two Space Aggressor squadrons, two Information Aggressor squadrons, an Intelligence Aggressor squadron, an Air Defense Aggressor squadron, and a support squadron. Together, these Aggressor squadrons provide the friendly “Blue Forces” a fully integrated simulated adversary that covers the entire spectrum of possible threats faced by US airpower.

Originally, when the 57th ATG was formed during the 1970s, Toth explained that the Group’s role was to act an adversary force for the USAF’s massive Red Flag war games. “The mission of the adversaries was to prep guys for their first 10 sorties during Red Flag”, Toth explained. “Kill ratios were dropping, so the Air Force created Red Flag” to rectify the problem, he added.

Due to their success, in 2005 the USAF began to significantly expand the adversary mission. Under a directive from then USAF Vice-Chief of Staff General T. Michael Moseley, the USAF began to “build up the aggressors to encompass all dimensions of the threat- not just strictly focusing on the air, but also space and information warfare”, Toth explained. “General Moseley’s vision was that the Aggressors would become Threat Central”, he added.

During the present day Red Flag exercises, Toth explains that the Space Aggressor units simulate threats against Blue Force space based communications and navigation systems by jamming Global Positioning Systems (GPS) signals, satellite communications (SATCOM), and certain UHF radio signals. Meanwhile, the Information Aggressors simulate attacks on Blue Force computer networks and information systems. At the same time the 57th Information Aggressor Squadron (57th IAS) might attempt to infiltrate Blue Force bases- including their dorms- to search for intelligence useful to the Aggressors during the simulated war. Combined with the aerial Aggressors flying the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters, these Aggressor forces mount a coordinated offensive against the Blue Force during exercises, Toth explained.

Red Flag is not the only “large force” exercises that the 57th ATG supports however, Toth said. The Aggressors also play a vital role in just about every large USAF or Joint aerial exercise. These large-scale exercises include Spirit Hawk, Green Flag, and the USAF Weapons School Mission Employment Phase exercise. The 57th ATG also supports “road shows” where they travel to different bases in order to provide flying demonstrations, academic lessons, or a combination of both on their respective threat scenarios.

Because of the vital nature of the adversary mission, Toth emphasizes that the units under his command must be “professional Aggressors”. Operating under the mantra of “know, teach, replicate”, the Aggressors “gather intelligence information on the threat and become subject matter experts” in their respective fields, Toth said. The Aggressors then teach the nature of these threats and their tactics to their operational brethren. Passing on these lessons is vital for the operational squadrons in learning how to defeat any potential enemies they might one day face. Finally, the Aggressors learn how to replicate the enemy weapons systems and their tactics as best they can in order to simulate these threats during exercises.

During “large force” exercises such as the Weapons School Mission Employment Phase or Red Flag, the two Space Aggressor squadrons (527th and 26th Space Aggressor Squadrons) replicate procedures that a potential enemy would use to disrupt friendly space based communications and navigation systems, Toth explains. “We think this is the potential threat”, Toth said, adding that the adversary scenarios are based on national level intelligence assessments of current threats.

In addition to disrupting Blue Force space assets, the Aggressors also integrate their own space assets into the planning and execution of their simulated air war against the Blue Forces. Not only does this provide for a more realistic threat presentation for the Blue Forces, it also affords them the opportunity to engage a “targetable space network” as they would in the real world, Toth added.

Similarly, in order to replicate the very real danger of computer network infiltration attacks the 57th Information Aggressor Squadron stages elaborate attacks on various USAF installations in order to test their defenses, Toth explained. The unit “will go to a base, get into their network, and try to gather as much intelligence as possible”, Toth said. Computer network attack can range from anything from a lone 16-year-old hacker, to terrorist organizations, to highly organized attacks coordinated by a foreign power. “Any time you turn on the news, the threat is out there”, Toth remarked.

Toth said that due to the serious nature of the threat, the simulated attacks have to be very realistic. The bases that are subject to a simulated network attack by the Aggressors are not given any prior warning, Toth stated. He added that only a few seniors officer are given prior notice of these “stimulation exercises” in order to ensure that the Aggressors tactics are not mistaken for an actual attack on the USAF network.

Cyber warfare is a new and highly specialized field for the USAF, Toth said. Personnel are being drawn from a multitude of USAF career fields in order to be trained for this new battlefield of the 21st Century, he explained. Toth added that ”it takes a long time” to get personnel “up to speed”.

In many ways, Toth says, the USAF cyber warfare personnel are trained to do the “same thing they’d be doing at a large corporation”. He explained that even though the USAF can never hope to match the pay scale of private industry, the Aggressors have no trouble retaining the highly specialized skills of their airmen. “What I find with the Guard, Reserve, and active duty personnel is that they love what they do. They’re dedicated to the Aggressor mission and there’s a deep sense of Patriotism there”, Toth explains.

While the Space and Information Aggressors are the newest additions to the 57th ATG family, they are fully integrated with the rest of the Group. Both types of this new generation of Aggressor squadrons are full participants in the traditional air combat exercises that are supported by the 57th ATG.

The traditional adversary air combat training mission of the 57th ATG is executed by the Group’s 64th and 65th Aggressor Squadrons. These two elite squadrons field the F-16C Fighting Falcon and the F-15C Eagle to replicate enemy air threats such as the Russian-built Su-30 Flanker and MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters. Additionally, the Group’s 507th Air Defense Aggressor Squadron simulates ground threats such as Surface to Air Missile (SAM) systems and anti-aircraft artillery (AAA). Toth said that he himself is a graduate of the elite USAF Weapons School and flies the F-15C Eagle with the 65th Aggressor Squadron when he is not occupied by his duties as the commander of the entire Group.

Part 2 will take a closer look at the flying mission of the elite 64th and 65th Aggressor Squadrons.


source: http://www.examiner.com/x-5411-NY-Milit ... y-Part-One
Offline

F16guy

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 366
  • Joined: 22 Apr 2004, 14:08

Unread post30 Apr 2009, 05:12

Good Stuff! and Nice picture.
Offline

Asif

F-16.net Editor

F-16.net Editor

  • Posts: 3038
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2003, 12:02

Unread post30 Apr 2009, 07:32

Dave Majumdar wrote this good article which we added to the forum. The Making of a Warrior
Asif Shamim
F-16.net Editorial staff & Patch Gallery Administration
Offline

rapier01

Enthusiast

Enthusiast

  • Posts: 92
  • Joined: 10 Nov 2005, 02:43

Unread post01 May 2009, 00:56

examiner.com wrote:The Aggressors: Someone has to play the bad guy. Part Two
by Dave Majumdar

Part 2 continues with a closer look at the pilots and air controllers of the 64th and 65th Aggressor Squadrons.

Tasked to simulate enemy air combat tactics during war-games; the 64th and 65th Aggressor Squadrons are elite flying units dedicated to the adversary mission. The two squadrons not only boasts a cadre of some of the most experienced fighter pilots in the United States Air Force (USAF), but also a dedicated group of Ground Tactical Air Controllers (GTAC) who are crucial to the Aggressor mission.

The GTACs, whose jobs are to direct aircraft into combat, are especially important to the aerial Aggressor mission. Unlike the friendly Blue Forces, the Aggressors use a technique known as “close control” in order to direct their forces in simulated combat says Technical Sergeant Julia “Dingo” Dickinson. She explains that the Combat Air Forces (as Blue Force is known) use a “very different” technique known as “broadcast control” where pilots have more autonomy. With the “close control” technique, much more responsibility rests with the GTACs.

Because of this crucial difference between Blue Force and “enemy” Red Force tactics, the Aggressor GTACs are required to have much more detailed knowledge of the threat forces. The Aggressor GTACs must understand threat weapons systems, tactics, and procedures intimately in order to present the Blue Force with the most realistic presentation possible, Dickinson said. “A Red Air controller has to be much more aggressive” than a Blue Force controller she explained, adding the GTACs control how the Red Force fights to a large extent in keeping with threat doctrine.

For the pilots flying during an exercise, the GTACs provide an extra level of safety says Captain John “Apollo” Williams, a F-15C Eagle pilot with the 65th Aggressor Squadron. “Generally, Blue Force may or may not be at the same level of experience as the Aggressors. Everyone has to keep track of everyone else. The GTACs have a God’s eye view of the airspace and they’re not going to send us into a dangerous situation just to train Blue. They keep us safe. The number one priority is to be safe, we’re trying to keep everyone safe”, Williams emphatically emphasized.

While safety is a priority, the mission of the Aggressor pilots is “to improve Blue combat air forces kill ratios by accomplishing more Dissimilar Air Combat Training”, said Captain Shayne “Tito” Sullivan, a F-16C pilot with the 64th Aggressor Squadron. “During Vietnam, the kill ratio dropped to two to one”, he explained, adding that the Aggressor program was originally established to reverse that downward tend.

To this end the Aggressor pilots not only support the Red Flag exercises, but they also play a crucial role in the USAF Weapons School curriculum, Sullivan said. For the Weapons School support mission the Aggressors are given “red specific instructions” in order to support the unique requirements of that elite institution, Sullivan explained. The Weapons School’s graduation exercise which is known as the “Mission Employment Phase is a very specific and different” type of war-game, Sullivan added.

In addition to supporting these “large force” exercises, the Aggressor pilots also support a “variety of road shows to spread the knowledge”, Sullivan said. The “road shows” can be aerial presentations of threat tactics and weapons systems or they could be academic in nature, Sullivan explained. Sometimes a “road show” will combine both air and academic elements, he said, adding that the adversaries’ objective is not only to provide the Blue units with Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT), but also to teach as subject matter experts.

Sullivan elaborated that the “DACT training was accomplished initially with the T-38 trainers, then the F-5 fighter, and then the F-16”. He explained that as the F-16 became more common in the Blue Force, the “DACT kinda went away”. In order to improve the situation the Aggressors paint their aircraft in schemes resembling those of foreign powers, Sullivan added. Williams said that the F-15C was added to the Aggressor line up in 2006 to provide a “chance for Blue to visually indentify a different aircraft”.

The two main types of enemy aircraft the pilots of the 64th and 65th Aggressor Squadrons replicate are the Russian-built Su-30 Flanker and MiG-29 Fulcrum series of fighters, said Colonel Andrew “Drifter” Toth, a F-15C Aggressor pilot and commander of the 57th ATG. Sullivan said that while he could not go into detail, he explained, “We work hand in hand with national level intelligence agencies“ to gather data to replicate the threat aircraft and tactics.

While the two Aggressor Squadrons fly different machines, Williams emphasized that the “mission is all the same”. The two units, he said, not only fly together, but they also conduct briefings together, and “often combine in the shop”. Such close cooperation is not limited to the pilots however as GTACs from both squadrons work together interchangeably, Williams said.

Because the main goal of the adversary pilots is to impart threat knowledge onto the Blue Forces, the Aggressors are primarily drawn from the ranks of experienced instructor pilots. While only a few of the Aggressor pilots are Weapons School graduates, both squadrons are staffed with “highly experienced controllers and experienced crews”, Williams said. “There are no first assignment types here. Everyone is on their second or third assignment”, he added.

For GTACs, Dickinson explains, the selection process is even more intense. Dickinson was a regular Blue Force controller for over 13 years before being selected for the Aggressor mission. Dickinson elaborated that the Aggressor GTAC controllers are “hand-selected out of the best Instructors and Evaluators”. She further added that it takes over a year of training for the Aggressor GTACs to become proficient at their jobs.

Training for the Aggressor pilots can vary depending upon a candidate pilot’s level of experience, Sullivan explained. “A certain number of sorties are required to upgrade”, he said, adding that the number of sorties is tailored to the level of the officer’s experience. An instructor pilot arriving at either squadron can expect to fly 19 rides as an Aggressor before being qualified as a Mission Commander with the designation of Flanker or Fulcrum One, Sullivan said.

Toth said that because the 57th ATG is ‘threat central”, the Aggressor mission is centered on Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), Nevada. With the USAF setting up a second set of Red Flag exercises at Eielson AFB, Alaska, the USAF similarly established a third locally based aerial Aggressor Squadron flying the F-16 to support those war-games. The new 18th Aggressor Squadron, while remaining under the umbrella of a different Eielson-based fighter wing, will use the exact same Aggressor syllabus as the Nellis-based Aggressors, Toth explained.

To facilitate the smooth transformation of the 18th Fighter Squadron into the 18th Aggressor Squadron, the previous Director of Operations of the 64th Aggressor Squadron and two Aggressor instructors were transferred to the nascent unit, Sullivan said. He added, “The starting point is at Nellis”.

http://www.examiner.com/x-5411-NY-Milit ... y-Part-Two



OVER NEVADA -- An F-16 Falcon from the 64th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., prepares to continue its mission after refueling during a Red Flag mission recently. The F-16s have a unique paint scheme to match their role as simulated enemy Mig aircraft during quarterly Red Flag exercises. [U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt Robert W. Valenca]


Enjoy
Offline

akruse21

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 810
  • Joined: 30 Jul 2005, 11:38

Unread post01 May 2009, 08:06

Credible word on the street is that when Tyndall shuts down the 95th and 2nd, they will stand up a civilian crewed F-16 aggressor squadron.
Offline

RamsteinPilot526

Active Member

Active Member

  • Posts: 142
  • Joined: 07 Feb 2008, 20:49

Unread post01 May 2009, 20:42

The Aggressors: Someone has to play the bad guy. Part One


More like Bad-Ass guy!

just throwin that out there :crazypilot:
"We're soldiers, but we're American soldiers! We've been kickin' a$$ for 200 years, we're 10 and 1"
Offline

skyhigh

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 467
  • Joined: 27 Feb 2009, 11:01

Unread post02 May 2009, 03:01

But the Aggressors, why do they not have their own AWACS coordinator like Blue Force to replace their obsolete and ineffective Soviet-based GCI tactics?
Offline
User avatar

PhillyGuy

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 636
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2006, 03:07

Unread post02 May 2009, 03:47

skyhigh wrote:But the Aggressors, why do they not have their own AWACS coordinator like Blue Force to replace their obsolete and ineffective Soviet-based GCI tactics?


:lmao: :doh:
"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
Offline

F16guy

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 366
  • Joined: 22 Apr 2004, 14:08

Unread post02 May 2009, 04:05

skyhigh wrote:But the Aggressors, why do they not have their own AWACS coordinator like Blue Force to replace their obsolete and ineffective Soviet-based GCI tactics?


Not ineffective or obsolete, just different.

Skyhigh, if you would, enlighten me on a country that has an AWACS system that you think we should replicate?
Offline

skyhigh

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 467
  • Joined: 27 Feb 2009, 11:01

Unread post13 May 2009, 01:36

Here's one:

PLAAF KJ-2000 AWACS
Attachments
AWACS_KJ-2000_e.jpg
PLAAF KJ-2000 AWACS
8568215.jpg
Offline

TC

F-16.net Moderator

F-16.net Moderator

  • Posts: 3999
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2004, 07:06

Unread post13 May 2009, 03:15

Skyhigh...:wtf:

Two things:

1) The Aggressors DO have their own GCI. It replicates Ivan's GCI very well, and has since the mid-70s when they set the first system up. But, just as Ivan evolves, so does GI Joe. That's all you need to know there.

2) E-3s (still the world's most sophisticated AWACS aircraft) are present at every RED FLAG exercise. The 57th also has a WIC for AWACS guys. I'm fairly certain that Ivan's Airborne C&C tactics get mentioned at least, oh...maybe once or twice during all of that. You think that they might possibly fly some Red Air profiles too? It would seem to make a lot of sense now wouldn't it?
"He counted on America to be passive...He counted wrong." -- President Ronald Reagan
Offline

skyhigh

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 467
  • Joined: 27 Feb 2009, 11:01

Unread post13 May 2009, 10:45

If you want to train your forces for 21st Century NCW and the like, look to the 57th ATG as your competitor.
Offline

F16guy

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 366
  • Joined: 22 Apr 2004, 14:08

Unread post15 May 2009, 09:14

Noted on the nice as you refer to them KJ-2000 pics.

Now just let me know when you find out they use them in the AWACs role controlling fighter intercepts, smart guy. I'd love for you to let us know what we're missing, we being the USAF.
Offline

skyhigh

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 467
  • Joined: 27 Feb 2009, 11:01

Unread post15 May 2009, 12:33

I thought the Aggressors had them as well, just to simulate an AWACS-equipped enemy air force.
Offline

TC

F-16.net Moderator

F-16.net Moderator

  • Posts: 3999
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2004, 07:06

Unread post15 May 2009, 18:50

Skyhigh, sometimes it pays to just sit back and read the posts on this site and learn a little, rather than posting what winds up an Epic Fail. Anyway, we don't have a copy of every plane that Ivan produces. In a perfect world, we would, but instead, we use our own stuff to simulate what Ivan has, and how he uses it.
"He counted on America to be passive...He counted wrong." -- President Ronald Reagan
Next

Return to General F-16 forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests