U.S. Armed Forces working together, alongside coalition partners, make for an unrelenting force. Live-fire close air support training was conducted with members assigned to the U.S. Air Force 82nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron; Army 1st Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment; Navy UNIT; Marine Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines; and Italian Task Force Typhoon at Udairi Range Complex, Kuwait, May, 26. With the number of different parties involved, practicing and understanding how to work together to execute the mission.
Training in a deployed environment not only builds proficiency, it also provides the opportunity to bring together organizations that don’t typically have a lot of face-to face time and to work through communication challenges before the team is put to the test in a real-world situation. For this iteration of training, artillery Soldiers, along with JTACs and forward air controllers with the U.S. Armed Forces, coordinated a series of tasks that incorporated close air support provided by Italian Eurofighter Typhoon pilots.
“We’re building relationships with people we could potentially be working with downrange. It builds trust. It builds confidence. Having the timing perfectly synchronized is fundamental to ensuring the training remains safe since they’re flying through a live-gun target line. Particularly when it comes to the aircraft. Having the timing perfectly synchronized is fundamental to ensuring the training remains safe since they’re flying through a live-gun target line,” said Maj. Jeff Hansen, 82nd EASOS joint terminal attack controller and air liaison officer.
While Soldiers and Marines with the weapons company in the 2nd Battalion and 1st Marines, respectively, fired mortars to orient the pilot’s eyes or suppress enemy fire, JTACs and FACs coordinated with the Eurofighter Typhoon pilots and the weapons company in order to accomplish the training goal. This blended, complex training allows exposure to different tactics, equipment and capabilities used by other branches, and other militaries, to ensure a streamlined, cohesive process for close air support missions all while creating a single, integrated coalition team.