The US Air Force (USAF) has demonstrated capabilities to integrate rescue and fifth-generation assets in real-world rescue scenarios during the first-ever Exercise Stealth Guardian.
Exercise Stealth Guardian is a combination of Rapid Raptor and Rapid Rescue designed to force new tactics and innovative uses of existing technology to execute complex rescue scenarios similar to a deployed or contingency environment.
The exercise involved participation of assets from Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, US, and Moody AFB, Georgia, US, as well as airmen from the 23d Wing and the 325th Fighter Wing.
The Rapid Raptor is a concept that seeks to quickly deploy a package of F-22 Raptors and supporting logistics to any forward operating base in the world.
347th Operations Support Squadron, assistant director of operations and Exercise Stealth Guardian planner major Tom said: “Stealth Guardian started after a rapid rescue and Rapid Raptor exercise we conducted at Langley AFB this past May. Leadership from the different wings, specifically the leaders at Tyndall AFB wanted to integrate with rescue as well.”
As well as allowing better crossflow communication, the exercise supported fourth-generation platforms to better integrate with fifth-generation assets.
During the exercise, an HC-130J Combat King II from the 71st Rescue Squadron executed a forward area refuelling point with an F-22 for the first time.
Tom added: “We were able to tailor the exercise to meet the specific learning objectives of all the players.
“By controlling all the aspects of the exercise we never had to sacrifice learning objectives, flights or mission planning time that can sometimes occur at other larger exercises.”
Image: An HC-130J Combat King II from the 71st Rescue Squadron taxis towards the parking ramp during Stealth Guardian. Photo: courtesy of the USAF/photo by staff sergeant Ryan Callaghan.