December 8, 2017

Shaw pilots host sister services

Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado
Shaw AFB, S.C.

U.S. Marine AV-8B Harriers with the Marine Attack Squadron 231 assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., are parked on the flightline during basic fighter maneuver training at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Dec. 1, 2017. Marine pilots received an opportunity to “battle” Air Force aircraft to include the F-16CM Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor and T-38C Talon.

Pilots assigned to Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., hosted U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps and took to the skies to duel each other, Dec. 1.

The pilots came together for basic fighter maneuver training to strengthen the strategic capabilities needed to win air-to-air battles.

“Modern tactics are designed to destroy an airborne enemy before they ever see your formation,” said Capt. Dane Lannon, 55th Fighter Squadron activity security manager. “However, in the case that an aircraft makes it to the visual arena, known as ‘the merge,’ our pilots are extensively trained in the art of one-on-one aerial combat.”

These trainings, which are scheduled to occur annually, give pilots the opportunity to test their skills against different airframes.

“Our pilots need to know how to maneuver their airplane in relation to an adversary who is trying to kill them,” said Lannon. “It’s important to Shaw and other bases because it’s the building block for follow-on fighter tactics.”

A U.S. Air Force F-16CM Fighting Falcon taxis along the runway to join sister service aircraft during basic fighter maneuver (BFM) training at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 1, 2017. BFM training placed pilots against “foreign” aircraft as a way to see how certain aircraft react to one-on-one battles against different airframes.

The participating aircraft consisted of F-16CM Fighting Falcons assigned to Shaw; F-22 Raptors assigned to Tyndall AFB, Fla., F-18 Hornets assigned to Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.; AV-8B Harriers assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.; and T-38C Talons assigned to Columbus AFB, Miss.

“There are jets from across the east coast flying in to meet in an airspace to fight each other,” said Capt. August Derosa, an instructor pilot from the 49th Fighter Training Squadron at Columbus AFB. “It gives the aircraft the opportunity to fight other aircraft as opposed to fighting their own.”

These trainings allow pilots to see the advantages and disadvantages of fighting different airframes and hone their skills to win the next fight.

A U.S. Marine with Marine Attack Squadron 231 assigned to Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, N.C., prepares to depart for basic fighter maneuver training at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 1, 2017. The Marines participated in the training alongside Air Force and Navy aircraft.

“It provides you with a wartime environment mentality for when you are going against someone who doesn’t fly your aircraft,” said Derosa. “You must study your adversary and see where you are best able to fight them and be able to act on the spot.”

The 49th FTS rarely has opportunities to participate in these trainings, so to come out and train against other services is a great experience, said Derosa.

Upon the conclusion of BFM, visiting pilots returned to their respective installations with more knowledge on how to adapt and overcome “foreign” airframes, increasing their mission effectiveness and response times when battling enemy combatants.

A U.S. Air Force pilot assigned to Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB), Fla., taxis his F-22 Raptor during basic fighter maneuver training at Shaw AFB, S.C., Dec. 1, 2017. More than 10 aircraft across the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps participated in the training to test their proficiency against “foreign” jets.

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