The U.S Air Force 965th Airborne Air Control Squadron (AACS) is putting new equipment to the test during exercise Red Flag 22-2 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The 965th AACS is one of 14 units from across the coalition core function forces participating in Red Flag-Nellis 22-2. The exercise provides realistic combat training that saves lives while increasing combat effectiveness, by providing aircrews the experience of multiple, intensive air combat sorties in the safety of a training environment. This has been a long-term project, and it is now in its final stages of deployment.
The 965th AACS is the first to utilize the highly anticipated Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, or DRAGON, modification to the E-3 Sentry’s Airborne Warning and Control Systems flight deck. The DRAGON mod, an update to the avionics displays to more modern glass equipment, is coupled with a communications network upgrade to the aircraft’s data-link system. Together they bring a higher degree of situational awareness to the front of the aircraft, as well as enhanced survivability due to their ability to display the air and threat picture with greater clarity.
“This is a team effort. The 965th gets the unique opportunity to be the first to utilize DRAGON and CNU at an exercise, but we are here due to the hard work of teams across the 552nd ACW and greater Air Force. We are fortunate to have the best maintenance squadron, the top operations support squadron, partners within the training group and Detachment 6 helping us work through syllabi execution, as well as our sister operations group squadrons who work with us daily to ensure maximum training on the jets. The 965th is just a small part of an entire 552nd ACW effort to ‘Bring the Future’ to AWACS,” Lt. Col. Terrance Allen, 965th AACS commander said.
The 966th Airborne Air Control Squadron is an active United States Air Force unit is assigned to the 552d Training Group, 552d Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. It operates the E-3 Sentry (AWACS) aircraft conducting airborne command and control missions. The squadron is the E-3 Sentry formal training unit (FTU) for all Airborne Warning and Control System aircrew and currently falls under the authority of Air Combat Command and Fifteenth Air Force. The 966th Airborne Air Control Squadron is Air Combat Command’s largest flying training unit, providing training for all active and reserve E-3 Sentry pilots and mission crew. Training approximately 500 students every year. Provide the Combat Air Force with airborne systems and personnel for surveillance, warning and control of strategic, tactical, and special mission forces.