726th ACS utilizes GFF for Dynamic Scud Hunt training
By Airman 1st Class Akeem K. Campbell, 366th Fighter Wing
/ Published September 15, 2020
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Conducting strategic communication, battle management and theater missile defense are just some of the ways that the 726th Air Control Squadron “HARDROCK” maintains control on deployed joint operations. They are one of the several effective organizations on base that bolsters the 366th Fighter Wing mission while also supporting their own.
The 726th ACS executed an important role in the preparation and engagement of the mission exercises during Gunfighter 2020 Flag, a joint exercise where aircraft and aviation experts from all military branches come to train in aviation tactics. The 726th ACS also conducted an exercise named Dynamic Target Scud Hunt, where Airmen train to find and destroy enemy weaponry.
“The 726th ACS provides tactical control to the fighter units in the 366th FW,” said Capt. Caroline “Crush” Harmon, 726th ACS chief of standards & evaluations. “The relationship with the 366th FW provides effective training for both our squadron and the fighter squadrons. During exercises, we are able to coordinate with each other and mission plan in a similar fashion to deployed operations.”
Hardrock was the sole Command and Control (C2) entity for GFF 20-1, supporting all nine mission sets.
“Hardrock provided the C2 functional team leads to each mission planning cell to ensure the link, communication and contracts were effectively planned, enabling the Commander’s intent to occur.” said Capt. Nicholas “Smokin” Volz, 726th ACS chief of weapons and tactics.
In a Scud Hunt, a variety of assets are used to find and destroy theater ballistic missiles (TBM) and scuds.
Scuds and TBMs are surface-to-surface missiles. Scuds have short range capability while TBMs have a wider range capability. In Dynamic Target Scud Hunts, Airmen go through a sophisticated process named F2T2EA which means: Find, Fix, Track, Target, Engage, and Assess in an effort to find and destroy enemy surface-to-surface missiles.
“Intel personnel will assess what we are looking for. Intelligence surveillance reconnaissance will use a variety of sensors to find indications of Intel’s assessment in the battlespace. C2 will aid in sensor fusion (tying multiple indications together) and generate prioritized dynamic taskings then pass them to assets to refine a location, confirm the target is indeed a scud and then to destroy the target.”
Due to COVID-19, there were some challenges on scud hunting for 726th ACS.
“We were limited on where we could seat our crew members due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Hoover said. “They normally would be sitting closer together so they can turn and talk to each other, but because of COVID-19 restrictions on keeping everyone socially distanced, they are further away from each other so it’s a little bit more difficult to pass information from one crew member to another.”
Despite the challenges, the 726th ACS completed the exercise and gained new experiences from the GFF 20-1 exercise, enabling the Airmen to learn how to work with unpredictable circumstances.
“Dynamic targeting is a very complex mission set that requires a lot of changes and planning for the unexpected,” Hoover said. “When we get the opportunity to plan and execute to the unexpected with a bunch of agencies we don’t normally get to work with, it becomes really good training for us and is beneficial for all of us should we be called up for any near peer threat or conflict.”
Training during exercises like GFF helps the 726th ACS complete their mission in advancing command and control warfare capabilities.