The future of warfighting: 116th, 461st ACWs partner with Navy for joint exercise

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Roger Parsons
  • 116th Air Control Wing Public Affairs
The 116th and 461st Air Control wings, worked with the Navy here to enhance joint-service training in a contested environment.

The Navy's composite training unit exercise tested the crews' ability to respond to a variety of threats using the E-8C Joint STARS' long-range radar capability to provide land and sea radar information to the Carrier Strike Group 4 based out of Norfolk, Va. 

"Six years ago when we initiated the Air Force/Navy integration effort, the E-8C was one of the first Air Force aircraft to participate," said a JSTARS liaison officer. "Being on the ship, I saw how JSTARS was looked at as the expert in now what is known as Navy JAM-GC, short for Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons."   

  Supporting the new joint warfare concept, JSTARS joined more than 10 different aircraft types, providing one-of-a-kind command and control, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and battle management capabilities.

Flying on board JSTARS was Navy Lt. j.g. John Duffner, a naval flight officer with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 126 out of Norfolk.

"The precision of the radar and the sheer size of the crew on JSTARS enables them to do more things simultaneously than we can do," said Duffner. "It has been a very interesting week, and I definitely know a lot more about how JSTARS works than I did before."

During the missions, the naval aviator received hands-on training and got to compare the E-2C Hawkeye command and control platform that he's accustomed to with the JSTARS platform.

"I came here as a liaison officer to gain a better understanding of what JSTARS can do so I can take it back to my squadron and see how we can work together to better accomplish our mission set," said Duffner. "I was also able to help the JSTARS crewmembers gain a better understanding of how the Navy does things."

The U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, along with its carrier strike group, shipped out to sea in January to begin a series of exercises designed to prep the ship's crew for a future deployment.