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Around 19 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft have participated in the US Air Force (USAF) Weapons School’s Joint Forcible Entry (JFE) Vul exercise.

The aircraft were launched from the USAF Little Rock Air Force Base (AFB) and Dyess AFB.

JFE Vul is a large-scale air mobility exercise conducted at the Nevada Test and Training Range.

The exercise was designed to simulate the JFE of ‘paratroopers into a contested battlespace’.

Featuring approximately 75 aircraft in total, the exercise saw Integrated Air Defense Systems take part in an airdrop operation in a simulated environment.

During the JFE exercise, the integration of forces provided participants with ways to support airdrop operations, assess air threats, surface-to-air threats and ground threats.

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USAF tactics chief 317th Airlift Wing major Darshan Subramanian said: “Training in a joint-base exercise is very realistic. The ability for multiple mobility bases to synchronise effects from distributed locations is a critical component of future air mobility conflicts.

“The ability to airdrop the army deep into enemy territory via C-130s while supported by the combat airforces is a critical option for the national command authority when viewing options to project American strength.”

It was purposed by the US Air Mobility Command (AMC) to use the JFE exercise as a testing ground for a tactical data link experiment.

This mission was intended to enhance aircrew situational awareness.

High-speed data transfer was enabled via commercial satellites involving new computers aboard two C-17s.

USAF Little Rock AFB-based aircraft planner 61st Airlift Squadron pilot and 19th Airlift Wing captain Patrick Waters said: “Pilots have used tactical data links to communicate through satellites for some time now.

“But instead of communicating as normal, the C-17 pilots used a new network band to communicate confidential information across the formation on a secure and rapid system.”