Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones, and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., hosted a congressional delegation at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., May 6, 2022, for an update on the base’s Advanced Battle Management System initiatives and an orientation of the E-7 Wedgetail, recently announced by the Air Force as the replacement for the aging E-3 Sentry.
The delegation started their visit with an up-close look at a Royal Australian Air Force E-7, followed by a similar orientation in a U.S. Air Force E-3. Both platforms were at the base for training missions in the nearby Nevada Test and Training Range.
The Wedgetail, an Airborne Warning and Control System currently flown by Australia and the United Kingdom, was recently selected by the U.S. Air Force to provide tactical battle management, command and control and target tracking capabilities.
“Identifying mobile targets in the air and on the surface is a capability the Joint Force counts on the U.S. Air and Space Forces to provide, and one of the seven ‘operational imperatives’ driving work across the Department of the Air Force,” Kendall said. “The Wedgetail will have a key part of that mission in the future. Our allies have proven it capable, and we are working to get it into the hands of our operators as quickly as possible.”
The delegation continued their visit at the Shadow Operations Center-Nellis, designated in 2021 by Brown as the Air Force’s ABMS Battle Lab, to witness how the facility is identifying emerging technologies that enable faster data and information transfer to operators.
“The ShOC-N is critical to the Air Force’s drive to link information to sensors and shooters in real-time,” Brown said. “As our service continues to accelerate change, the revelations coming out of this battle lab will help our warfighters more quickly understand, share, decide and act, which will provide them a greater advantage on the battlefield.”
During the update, leaders had the opportunity to see firsthand how the command-and-control effects support integrated operations which contribute to the overarching Joint All-Domain Command and Control concept.
The group completed their visit at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, where they had a chance to hear how cadre are continually refining tactics and training students across various platforms and disciplines. Graduates of the six-month course, referred to as weapons officers, then share that knowledge with their home station units to make them more lethal and survivable against potential adversaries.
“Our Department’s mission is ultimately to deter aggression and swiftly defeat it, if necessary,” Kendall said. “We achieve that goal by being better trained and equipped than a potential adversary. That mindset is clearly driving the training conducted by the team at Nellis (AFB). I’m deeply impressed with how professionally the team at Nellis (AFB) is addressing our pacing challenge. Our responsibility in Washington, with help from our partners in Congress, is to make sure these Airmen are equipped with the capabilities and resources to win.”