The US Air Force’s (USAF) 964th and 966th Airborne Air Control Squadron (AACS) have conducted tests using E-3G airborne warning and control system (AWACS) during the Exercise Northern Edge 2015.
During the test, AWACS surveyed 100 fighters, bombers and refuelling tankers in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex.
The mission included threat detection, improvisation, and air battle management.
964th AACS mission crew commander major Dan Sprunger said: "We provide the command and control of the aircraft. It’s our job to oversee what’s going on, and in-real time, make changes in the air.
"We run the tanker plan so when guys need gas, we send them there. If guys need to fall out, we shift aircraft around. We’re like the chess master of the game."
The E-3G Northern Edge mission crew included 24 weapons officers, surveillance officers, radar and communication technicians, and flight deck crew.
The E-3G aircraft provides direct information needed for interdiction, reconnaissance, airlift and close air support for friendly ground forces, while also providing information for commanders of air operations to gain and maintain control of the air battle.
It features an upgraded computer platform, called 4045, for their weapons and surveillance scopes. The exercise allowed AWACS personnel to try the new system and also to be familiar the new features.
The Exercise Northern Edge 2015 will see AACS’ squadrons completing around 15 command and control missions using both old and new systems.
Northern Edge 2015 is designed to strengthen tactical combat skills; enhance command, control and communication relationships; and to develop interoperable plans and programmes across the joint force.
Image: A US Air Force Boeing E-3 AWACS. Photo: courtesy of Val Gempis.