PORTLAND AIR GUARD STATION, Oregon – Members of the US Navy Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing (CPRW) 10 have joined the 123rd Fighter Squadron, 142nd Oregon Air National Guard Wing to conduct ongoing familiarization training . More than seven coordinated training flights were conducted between the two groups at Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon, throughout 2021.
This training allows participating aircrews to work alongside aircraft with different capabilities to learn how to track and counter attacks from opposing forces in various simulated scenarios.
âIt’s like constantly putting a puzzle together to locate an adversary and stay with them,â said Lt. Daniel Cushman, P-8A Poseidon Naval Flight Officer with CPRW-10.
The Poseidon, the Navy’s modernized reconnaissance and patrol aircraft replacing the P-3C Orion, is designed for a wide variety of maritime missions. Based on the Boeing 737, the P-8A is flown by three pilots, two naval flight officers and four enlisted sensor operators. Conversely, the main airframe of 142 Wing is the F-15 Eagle, a tactical fighter aircraft designed to perform combat missions and maintain air superiority.
Flight missions with CPRW-10, fighters and reconnaissance planes have different capabilities, allowing the two groups to take on different roles, helping each component to accomplish critical training requirements.
When playing the opponent in a given scenario, the 123rd Fighter Squadron acts as a sea strike platform. This allows P-8A crews to effectively practice dynamic defensive tactics in a realistic environment.
âOur main mission is anti-submarine warfare. We release sonobuoys (devices designed to detect underwater sounds and transmit them over the radio) to provide information about position, heading and speed, âCushman said. âWe can also play an ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) role with our on-board sensors which exploit the radar, the cameras and can exploit an RF (radio frequency) to accomplish this set of missions. “
For CPRW-10, the goal of training is to become comfortable operating in a joint environment and to provide aircrews with realistic situations that reflect what they may experience while deployed.
âThe more we can understand each other when we need it, the better,â Cushman said.
Part of the training included the fighter squadron calling out specific distances between aircraft so that the crew could visualize the safe maneuvers versus the aggressive flight procedures they can undergo from adversaries during a mission.
“The desired formation of our work with the P-8 [is] to familiarize the P-8 crew with what non-hazardous fighter escort activity looks like, âsaid Lieutenant-Colonel Joel Thesing, pilot of the 123rd Fighter Squadron. âIt is important to teach crews what normal distances and escort procedures look like so they can easily identify non-normal or dangerous activities. “
âThe training is realistic; we learn a lot and it helps to know what we’re going to see on the plane, ten miles away, [or] a mile from an engagement, âCushman said.
Familiarization training with different cells and services turns out to be an essential advantage in real situations.
âWe train like we fight. Ideally, familiarization would not occur in an actual emergency situation. A real world mission is to take advantage of our familiarization training and use what we know, âThesing said.