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Trident Warrior
U.S. Air Force and Navy units participated in the Trident Warrior 2013 exercise over the Atlantic Ocean near the Hampton Roads, Va., area, July 8-19. The exercise helped keep the participating pilots versatile and laid the ground work for future joint operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. John D. Strong II / Released)
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‘Trident warriors’ test technology

Posted 7/24/2013   Updated 7/24/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Airman 1st Class R. Alex Durbin
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


7/24/2013 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va.  -- U.S. Air Force and Navy units participated in the Trident Warrior 2013 exercise over the Atlantic Ocean near the Hampton Roads, Va., area, July 8-19.

The exercise aimed to test an experimental Joint Tactical Information Distribution System between fourth and fifth-generation fighters, and included F-22 Raptors, F-15 Eagles, F-15 Strike Eagles, F-18 Hornets, T-38 Talons and E-2 Hawkeyes from various installations including: Langley Air Force Base, Va., Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., Naval Station Norfolk, Va., and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., as well as various Air National Guard and reserve units.

The data link is part of JTIDS and is a network radio system designed to meet the requirements of modern tactical air combat. It provides reliable situational awareness to multiple pilots by sharing pertinent information through high-speed, jam-resistant, secure computer-to-computer connectivity.

Previously, fifth generation aircraft were only able to share sensor information with fighters of the same generation, while older jets could only send information to their more technologically advanced counterparts. The new technology will allow both generations of airframe to pass information freely.

According to U.S. Air Force Capt. Pete Tymitz, 94th Fighter Squadron flight commander, if implemented, the technology will afford pilots the opportunity to share tactical information between all aircraft, forming a shared vision during combat operations.

"This system will let us work off of each others' strengths to minimize our weaknesses," he said. "We will be able to increase lethality without increasing the need for more [aircraft] or potential risk to our pilots."

Tymitz said integrating fighter data sharing will give pilots information at their fingertips while reducing the need for radio communications, providing them more time to focus on combat.

"This data link will give us a holistic view of what we are fighting against so we can focus on tactics without the need for constant updates," said Lt. Col. Brian Beales, 1st Fighter Wing Plans, Programs and Evaluations Office chief. "Without that whole picture, the chances of lost of life or resources can increase greatly."

During testing, pilots were divided into two teams titled "Blue Force" and "Red Force," and pitted against each other in simulated aerial combat. The blue team played as American forces while the red team simulated enemy tactics to fully test the data link's capabilities in a realistic setting.

The pilots felt the experiment provided a unique testing environment, and enhanced training with Service members from other units and military branches.

"Giving our pilots the opportunity to fly with the wide range of airframes will make us stronger," said Tymitz. "Stepping out of our norm keeps [us] sharp and flexible."

While this exercise helped keep the participating pilots versatile, many felt the challenging conditions laid the ground work for future joint operations.

"The more [the services] work together to learn each other's strengths and weakness, the more we improve as a whole force," said Beales. "When we eventually deploy together, it's important we're all on the same [page] and fighting the same fight."



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