The 64th Aggressor Squadron and 57th Aircraft Maintenance Unit out of Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, provided red air support for the 310th Fighter Squadron B course student pilots Jan. 4 through today at Luke Air Force Base.
“Red air basically means we played as the bad guys in different scenarios for two weeks,” said Airman 1st Class Derek Niederer, 57th AMXS crew chief. “The scenarios included penetrating enemy airspace with enemy aircraft in the area and air-to-air battles.”
After a day’s training, the pilots are debriefed on where and what to look for as well as what types of weaknesses they could have exploited.
“Our pilots are trained to fly and fight the same way as our adversaries,” said Master Sgt. Samuel Brandt, 57th AMXS production superintendent. “When they are out there training the student pilots they are able to get them spun up on the most realistic training possible.”
In addition to the special adversary training, the 57th Wing provided their own line of special F-16 aircraft to assist the 310th B-course students.
“These F-16s have various paint schemes to look as if they are enemy aircraft for more realistic scenario training,” Niederer said. “We also have electronic countermeasure pods which make our aircraft replicate variations of enemy aircraft on the student pilots’ radars. The ECM pod is part of the advisory threat package and is not a common configured pod used by the U.S. Air Force.”
The way they conduct their mission is the same as every other F-16 unit as far as maintenance, Brandt said.
“Because of the different looking jets and the business they do, a little friendly rivalry develops between units,” he said.
“Getting the 310th B course students the best possible chance at success is our mission for now,” Brandt said. “Supplementing their mission program ensures they reserve accurate advice, identify threats and learn how to defeat them.”