The U.S. Air Force 23rd Wing received two AT-6E Wolverine aircraft at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, on Jan. 12, 2022. 81st Fighter Squadron pilots, who are on loan to the 23rd Wing, will be flying the AT-6 aircraft alongside partner nation personnel. Air Combat Command invited the partner nations to come to the United States to further mature and co-develop tactics, techniques, and procedures to counter violent extremist organizations while simultaneously demonstrating the capabilities of the Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network (AERONet), an exportable and affordable data link.
The collaboration, set to conclude in May 2022, will demonstrate AERONet’s ability to enhance communication between partner nations and U.S. forces. As U.S. work to build coalitions with partner nations, one goal is to create shared knowledge of a common platform that partner nation allies can employ. The overarching goal is to build the capacity and capability of U.S. partner nations, enhancing the ability to seamlessly work together and enabling the successes of any future operation. The presence of these aircraft will not elevate the noise levels that residents currently experience in the surrounding area.
AERONet is an IP-based mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) capability. It is used to provide disaster relief and emergency aid, drug interdiction and other law enforcement missions, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), personnel recovery operations, close air support (CAS), and joint force and joint nation operations. The Air Force developed it in tandem with the light-attack experiment so that all nations who invested in the new close air support program could share information more easily. The system has three nodes, each with distinct combat capabilities: the airborne node is a radio and computer hybrid that users can attach to nearly any aircraft.
Beechcraft AT-6E Wolverine is an armed version of the T-6 for primary weapons training or light attack roles built by Textron Aviation/Beechcraft. Two were delivered to the U.S. Air Force for continued testing. In November 2021, eight were ordered by Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) as the Beechcraft AT-6TH Wolverine. The aircraft is specifically designed to address the light-attack requirements of armed and air forces worldwide. It can perform manned intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), training, light precision attack, civil support, counterinsurgency (COIN), airborne interdiction and intelligence, maritime patrol, and internal defense missions.