Resultant Fury successful thanks to ‘test’ Airmen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Tonya Keebaugh
  • 53rd Wing Public Affairs
Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell would be proud.

Airmen from the 53rd Wing here recently showcased airpower over the Pacific Ocean when Air Force and Navy aircraft targeted and destroyed moving maritime targets.

More than 300 people participated in the demonstration, called Resultant Fury, including about 35 Airmen from the 53rd Wing.

B-52 Stratofortresses deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, deployed from Barksdale AFB, La., participated along with B-52s and airborne test directors from the 53rd Wing’s 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron. The directors ensured the tactics and procedures developed by the 49th TES were used by the mission aircrews. With their help, the B-52s successfully sank the decommissioned 522-foot, USS Schenectady, and two smaller towed targets in the waters off Kauai, Hawaii.

Blowing up a ship with airpower may seem like old news to some; General Mitchell organized the sinking of the “Ostfriesland,” a German battleship, in 1921. The Resultant Fury demonstration was a bit more advanced. In fact, it was so advanced that many of the weapons systems used have not yet been operationally fielded. That is where the 53rd Wing Airmen stepped in.

The mission for Airmen of the 53rd Wing was to identify potential problems with the weapons before they become operational, officials said.

“Support from our wing was required because many of the weapons and technologies used during the demonstration are still in the developmental stage,” said Jim Jeter, 28th Test Squadron project manager.

The weapon of choice for the demonstration was the Joint Direct Attack Munition, modified with an affordable moving surface target engagement system. Laser-guided bombs were also used on the target ship as well.

The JDAM had not been dropped from the B-52 onto a moving, maritime target before, Mr. Jeter said. Aided by the targeting system, the JDAM received continuous updates of the ship’s location from an E-8C Joint Stars aircraft after the munition was dropped from the B-52. The test alsso demonstrated the ability to simultaneously guide multiple JDAMs to different targets, officials said.

“The JDAM was (designed) to strike immobile targets, and the (targeting system) had been tested against land-based moving targets, so putting them together... was valuable for us to gather data, but also an excellent demonstration of our capabilities,” Mr. Jeter said.

Specialists from the 53rd Wing also provided technical expertise during the demonstration.

“We provided weapons-build and loading expertise, instrumentation support and aircrew augmentation,” said Maj. Randy Newman, 49th TES director of operations and deployment commander in Guam. “Also, the 49th TES provided a Litening ER pod-equipped B-52 carrying laser-guided bombs as an additional strike asset for the demonstration.”

The B-52 that dropped the laser-guided bombs was flown by a 49th TES aircrew trained to use the pod to guide the bombs to the target via a laser.

“The laser-guided bombs were a back up (to the JDAMs) to ensure the vessel sunk,” Mr. Jeter said. “The 49th TES is currently the only B-52 unit qualified to self-designate laser-guided bombs with the Litening targeting pod.”

However, he said, that capability may soon be fielded to all B-52 units as a result of another test project.

Nine JDAMs were dropped during the two-day demonstration with all hitting their intended target. Also, four GBU-10 laser-guided bombs hit the ship, resulting in extensive damage helping sink the vessel. By comparison, it took General Mitchell 63 bombs to sink the Ostfriesland.