F-16 Fighting Falcon News

57th ATG Aggressors hit the road

October 5, 2007 (by 57th Adversary Tactics Support Squadron) - More than 150 Aggressor Airmen from the 57th Adversary Tactics Group returned from two successful training deployments to Shaw AFB and Eglin AFB last week.

During the two-week deployments, historically known as "roadshows," Aggressors provided academics and flying training tailored to the needs of F-15 and F-16 pilots assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw and the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin.

The training improved the two base's ability to defeat adversary aircraft in aerial combat and survive against the latest surface-to-air missile systems. These roadshows were the first in more than four years and represent a critical milestone toward achieving the Air Force goal of 12 weeks of flying roadshows per year.

The 64th Aggressor Squadron traveled to Eglin with 80 Airmen and eight F-16s to provide adversary training for the wing's F-15C pilots.

"This is probably the most effective learning tool for us to fly dissimilar air combat training, where it's something out of the ordinary and it's extremely challenging," said Capt. Mike Reilly, 58th Fighter Squadron chief of training.

The secret to the intensity and realism of Aggressor training is the detailed knowledge of the threat; how the systems work, what they can do, how they are used, how the operators think; and the ability to replicate them with unique equipment.

In addition to completing a demanding 20-ride checkout program, flying Aggressors participate in numerous conferences and seminars, and complete hundreds of hours of self-study on adversary capabilities and tactics.

"We spend 75 percent of our time not flying, but learning. We visit different intelligence agencies to learn about the threat and after we learn it, we teach it. Only about 25 percent of our time is spent flying," said Lt. Col. Greg Marzolf, 64th AGRS commander.

The 65th Aggressor Squadron and the 507th Air Defense Aggressor Squadron traveled to Shaw with six F-15s and 79 Airmen. The 65th AGRS flew against F-16CJs from the 55th and 79th Fighter Squadrons, replicating aircraft, weapons and tactics used by a wide variety of potential adversaries.

The 507th ADAS taught Shaw Airmen academics on long- and short-range surface-to-air missile systems, incorporating lessons learned from current and previous combat operations.

The Air Defense Aggressors also visited the Shaw AFB range to view its inventory of air defense systems.

"We were able to provide feedback on the current threat scenarios in order to make them more realistic," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Sundberg, 507th ADAS director of operations.

"We were able to teach six classes in two days with up to 30 people in each class," Colonel Sundberg continued.

A 55th Fighter Squadron pilot summed it up when he said, "Everything we learn from the Aggressor professionals will be useful during future flying operations."

Roadshows are just one of the many ways the 57th ATG trains American, Allied and partner nation military branches to defeat air, surface-to-air, space and cyber threats.

The group provides a professional adversary force for Red Flag and Maple Flag exercises, Weapons School syllabus training, test and evaluation activities, and major joint and interagency exercises such as Terminal Fury and Bulwark Defender. Now nine squadrons strong, the professional adversaries of the 57th ATG are making a difference in Air Force readiness today and tomorrow.