Point Blank 19-8 integrates ISR, Special Operations
By Airman 1st Class Madeline Herzog, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 20, 2019
RAF LAKENHEATH, United Kingdom (AFNS) --
The 48th Fighter Wing, in partnership with the Royal Air Force, hosted Point Blank 19-8 Nov. 14.
Additional aircraft from RAF Mildenhall, RAF Coningsby, RAF Lossiemouth, RAF Boulmer and NATO participated in the flying training exercise over the North Sea.
The purpose of Point Blank 19-8 is to exercise large-force capabilities that incorporate current and future wartime scenarios. This iteration is especially unique in that it features special operations forces and the ‘Iron Triad.’
“The Iron Triad refers to three aircraft that work together to find and nominate targets and then pass those to airborne fixed-wing assets that can then strike that mark,” said Capt. Kevin Fogler, 48th Operations Support Squadron chief of tactical integration. “Finding targets that aren’t planned is very difficult with any one asset, so the Iron Triad is the team that works together to find targets in real time to complete a mission.”
The trio includes the E-3 Sentry, the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System and the RC-135 Rivet Joint. The aircraft have the capability to identify threats on the ground for low-flying aircraft and provides the aircrew with more situational awareness for various circumstances on the ground.
“This will be the first time we bring in multiple big wing intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets for the exercise,” said Col. Jason Camilletti, 48th Operations Group commander. “Having the Iron Triad will really allow us to get after joint all domain command and control.”
Participation in bilateral exercises enhances professional relationships and improves overall coordination with allies and partner militaries.
“This holds our support section to a time frame,” Fogler said. “It’s all designed to replicate a mission set you would find in combat operations. All support in this exercise is revolved around that special operations objective, which is not normally how these exercises go.”
Other training objectives include infiltrating and exfiltrating special operations forces into enemy territory for a high-end reconnaissance mission.
“This is a unique opportunity for Air Force Special Operations Command mobility aircraft to be the supported force in a larger exercise and to integrate with our USAF, RAF and other NATO partners,” said a U.S. Air Force MC-130J pilot of the 352nd Special Operations Wing.
“Running these exercises and establishing contracts with these countries while learning how our assets fit together is critical to continue to present a credible threat to any adversary,” Fogler said.
The continuing contributions to develop and improve air readiness are significant in maintaining security and essential to the collective defense of the U.S., U.K. and NATO alliance.
“Our mission is to deliver worldwide responsive combat air power and support, and exercise Point Blank ensures the Liberty Wing (48th Fighter Wing) is ready 24/7, 365 to secure the sovereigns skies,” Camilletti said.