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F-16 Fighting Falcon News

'Agressors' train Guard pilots

November 30, 2009 (by SSgt. LuCelia Ball) - A mobile training team from the 18th Aggressor Squadron spent a week providing unit-level training for Hawaii Air National Guard pilots.

USAF F-16C block 30 #86-0298 from the 18th AS taxis onto the runway at Hickam AFB. The squadron, from Eielson AFB functions to train aircrews through realistic threat replication in a simulated combat environment. It deploys mobile training teams throughout PACAF from April through October each year to conduct unit-level training. [USAF photo by Cohen A. Young]

The squadron, from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, functions to train Pacific Air Forces, joint and allied aircrews through realistic threat replication in a simulated combat environment.

"We're professional adversaries for PACAF," said Lt. Col. Andrew Hansen, 18th AGRS commander. "Our mobile training teams train [throughout the area of responsibility] from April through October."

The squadron also trains aircrews through large exercises like Northern Edge and Red Flag-Alaska.

"The unit-level training is building block training to prepare for the larger exercises," said Maj. Travis Peterson, 18th AGRS intersection division chief.

The mobile training team included 120 members, including pilots, life support Airmen, a flight doctor, logistics and maintenance personnel.

Planning for the exercise took place more than one year ago, although the team has the ability to adjust the training up to one week ahead of arrival.

For the 199th Fighter Squadron, the plan was to upgrade one pilot to mission commander status.

"A mission commander is a pilot who is in charge of a large number of aircraft," said Major Peterson. "His job is to plan the tactics and strategy for those aircraft."

24 other pilots were also trained in large force employment tactics, which requires a large number of aircraft.

The training began with a one-hour pre-flight section, in which instructors taught the finer points of the training. It was followed by one to two hours of flight time each day.

The exercise setup plotted eight F-16 Fighting Falcon Aggressor aircraft against six F-15C Eagles belonging to the HIANG.

After each sortie, the day concluded with two hours of post-flight briefings.

Members of HIANG were impressed with the training and support.

"They give us close to perfect replication to provide 100 percent real-world threat conditions," said Lt. Col. Mark Ladtkow, 199th FS director of operations. "I've heard feedback from our most senior experienced pilots who said the training was phenomenal and more importantly, our more inexperienced pilots became more comfortable and effective at large force employment."

Courtesy of Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs