Range Roving [F-35 'smarts' feature]

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Unread post10 Feb 2021, 04:36

Range Roving [OLD article but relevant to following recent 'range roving' article below.... aslo LVC]
01 Apr 2020 Jennifer Hlad

MISAWA AIR BASE, JAPAN—Imagine this: F-16s flying over Draughon Range in Japan, pilots in a simulator in South Korea, ground targets showing up on everyone’s radar—and it’s all controlled by someone at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Today, this kind of live, virtual, and constructive (LVC) training isn’t just possible, it’s likely.

Misawa is just the third base in the Air Force to get LVC capability, and the only one outside the United States. The technology makes Draughon Range—the only air-to-ground range on mainland Japan—“the premier range in the western Pacific,” according to Lt. Col. Ethan Rutell, director of operations with 35th Operations Support Squadron.

Twelve miles north of Misawa, running along the Pacific coast near the northernmost tip of Japan’s main island, the range has been in use since 1952. Unofficially dubbed Ripsaw Range, the Air Force changed its name over the years from Amagamori Range to the Misawa Air-to-Ground Gunnery and Bombing Range and, in 2003, to Draughon Range in honor of Navy Petty Officer Matthew Draughon, a diver lost at sea in 2001 during an operation to recover a Misawa aircraft that had crashed into the ocean nearby.

“Our range is probably the most adaptive, flexible, I would say, of any range around,” Rutell said. Pilots train here on strafing, bombing, rocketry, lasing, and air drops; combat search and rescue; survival, evasion, resistance, and escape, and more.

The Bomb Electronic Attack Range System here consists of several unmanned threat emitters that replicate surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites. Col. Kristopher Struve, commander of 35th Fighter Wing, said the wing’s primary mission is suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), so realistic training against SAMs is critical.

USAF C-130s, F-16s, MC-130s, CV-22s, and B-52s train here, as do Navy EA-18G Growlers, Marine Corps F-35s, and Japanese F-2s, CH-47s, and F-35s. ...

...Capt. Jared Morris, assistant operations director for the 14th Fighter Squadron, said the emitters also allow for “real feedback during the fight, versus coming back and seeing if your tactics work” after the fact. All that realism is now “less than 10 minutes from my home station.”

That’s not possible anywhere else, Cichowski said. “I definitely can’t do that in Alaska, not during a Red Flag.” In the continental U.S., pilots travel hours to train on an electronic range and would have to plan the entire mission around the small window of time at that range. Here, he said, “basically they can take off and they’re in the airspace at the range if they want to be.”

The capability is “part and parcel to their SEAD mission,” Rutell said. “They’re the only SEAD wing in PACAF, so it builds the foundation of their training.”

The base is also home to a Japanese F-35 squadron. But the F-35s’ computer systems are so much smarter than the F-16s’ that it knows the emitter isn’t a real SAM, Rutell said. To train F-35s, the range is getting new, more advanced emitters, which should be fully operational soon. The range was also recently certified for the F-35 electro-optical targeting system, which will allow them to drop weapons on the range....

...Between the SAM emitters, the LVC capabilities, and the upgrades to be compatible with the F-35, “we’ve become really the best thing outside of Nellis or [Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex], with the most capability,” Struve said. “And it’s building, and we’ve got some amazing things on the horizon that we’re working on.”...

...[then a follow-on article on same page] "Soon, Draughon Range will have the only emitters in the region that work against the Japanese F-35s based at Misawa. The new emitters are more reliable than the ones they replaced and can also replicate more threats.

“To get good at something, you have to practice it on a day-to-day basis, and you can’t go back to Alaska every single day,” House said. Achieving this kind of training fidelity in Japan will help better prepare pilots here for the threats they could face if called into action. “Now, are we as big and robust … as Alaska? Absolutely not,” he added. “But for day-to-day training, we knock it out of the park.”....

Source: https://www.airforcemag.com/article/range-roving/

Report: USAF Can Relocate Fighter Squadrons, Go Virtual to Improve Training
08 Feb 2021 Rachel S. Cohen

"Air Force fighter jets will lose out on the benefits of upgraded training ranges unless the service also decides to relocate certain squadrons, according to a new RAND Corp. report. The Air Force contends its crumbling, outdated training infrastructure doesn’t offer what Airmen need to learn how to fly against adversary pilots and threats like surface-to-air missiles or communications jammers. Improving those ranges is one aspect of a multibillion-dollar push to modernize air bases and adopt better virtual training tools.

But the service risks shortchanging its most advanced fighter fleets—the F-22 and F-35—if it moves forward with range updates alone, RAND experts argue. [RAND analysis: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_repo ... 169-1.html ]

...For the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the report found range improvements should dovetail with the creation of new F-35 squadrons so pilots can start practicing as soon as possible.

“The F-35A is the most important [fighter aircraft] to have access to advanced training ranges,” RAND said. “In addition, because most of these basing decisions have not been made, they may be subject to fewer institutional constraints compared with existing forces.”..."

[Too complicated to digest at moment for me because mostly I'm not 'merican while Oz is updating their range(s)...."
PLUS we now know that the F-35 will not have LVC because of reasons stated in another thread - may be later on.]

Source: https://www.airforcemag.com/report-usaf ... -training/
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber

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