Coalition forces strengthen close air support capabilities

A joint coalition force trained together at Udairi Range, Kuwait, Oct. 20.

U.S. Air Force tactical air control party Airmen deployed to the 82nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron, along with the U.S. Army 1st Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment joint fires observers in-training, and the Italian air force (Aeronautica Militare) Task Group Typhoon practiced close air support, fostering enduring partnerships and advancing its decisive combat dominance.

“While all military training carries inherent risk, close air support by its very nature is significantly riskier,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeffrey Hansen, 82nd EASOS joint terminal attack controller program manager and director of operations. “The use of aircraft to deliver munitions in close proximity to friendly ground forces requires detailed integration and skilled proficiency in carefully timed procedures. Steps must be taken to keep both the aircraft and ground personnel safe. Any added variables, such as marking with ground fire or a language barrier, requires even more attention to detail. Our training at Udairi Range offers JTACs, JFOs, aircrew and maneuver elements the opportunity to successfully negotiate these obstacles in a controlled environment to build proficiency in these skill sets.”

U.S. Air Force joint terminal attack controllers are TACPs who specialize in the use of combat aircraft to engage in close air support and other air operations from a forward position. Together, coordinating with the Army JFOs and the Italian aircrew above, their communication and teamwork is honed for accuracy.

“All of these individual elements create noise,” Hansen said. “The JTAC’s role is that of the conductor: controlling and directing ‘noise’ in such a way so that it creates music. Specific locations, specific munitions, precise timing and attack geometries, all are carefully weighed and balanced by the JTAC so that the supported ground commander can call upon any and all joint fires and receive massed precision strikes, on time and on target.”

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/U.S. Air Force Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.