Members of the U.S. Navy Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing (CPRW) 10 joined up with the 123rd Fighter Squadron of the Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Wing to conduct ongoing familiarization training. More than seven coordinated training flights have been conducted between the two groups at Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon throughout 2021. This training allows participating aircrews to work alongside aircraft with differing capabilities to better learn how to track and counter attacks from adversarial forces in various simulated scenarios. When playing as the adversary in a given scenario, the 123rd Fighter Squadron acts as a maritime strike platform. This allows P-8A aircrews to effectively practice dynamic defensive tactics in a realistic environment.
The Poseidon, the Navy’s modernized patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and replacement to the P-3C Orion, is designed for a wide variety of maritime missions. Based on the Boeing 737, the P-8A is manned by three pilots, two naval flight officers and four enlisted sensor operators. Conversely, the 142nd Wing’s primary airframe is the F-15 Eagle, a tactical fighter aircraft designed to fly combat missions and maintain air superiority. Flying missions together with CPRW-10, the fighters and reconnaissance aircraft have dissimilar capabilities, which allows the two groups to assume different roles, helping each component accomplish critical training requirements.
“It’s like constantly putting a puzzle together to locate an adversary and stay with them. Our primary mission is Anti-Submarine Warfare, we drop sonobuoys (devices designed to detect underwater sounds and transmit them via radio) to provide position, course, and speed information. We also can perform an ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) role with our sensors onboard that leverage radar, cameras onboard, and can exploit an RF (Radio Frequency) to accomplish that mission set,” said Lt. Daniel Cushman, P-8A Poseidon naval flight officer from CPRW-10.
For CPRW-10, the goal of the training is to become comfortable operating in a joint environment and to provide realistic situations for the aircrew that mirrors what they may experience while deployed. Part of the training included the fighter squadron calling out specific distances between the aircraft so the aircrew could get a visual understanding of safe maneuvers versus aggressive flying procedures they may experience from adversaries while conducting a mission. Familiarization training with different airframes and services proves to be a critical advantage in real-world situations.