HomeNewsArticle Display

Airmen strengthen forward capability in Bulgaria

Members of the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron move a forward area manifold cart out of the back of an MC-130J Commando II, assigned to the 67th Special Operations Squadron, during forward area refueling point training at Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Feb. 9, 2016. The FAM cart weighs approximately 3,500 pounds and is mainly extracted from the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Luke Kitterman)

Members of the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron move a forward area manifold cart out of the back of an MC-130J Commando II, assigned to the 67th Special Operations Squadron, during forward area refueling point training at Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Feb. 9, 2016. The FAM cart weighs approximately 3,500 pounds and is mainly extracted from the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Luke Kitterman)

A 321st Special Tactics Squadron combat controller hammers into place a distance marker before the start of an austere landing exercise at Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Feb. 9, 2016. Combat controllers supported the training for multiple aircraft deployed to Bulgaria as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which aims to assure the U.S.’s commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Luke Kitterman)

A 321st Special Tactics Squadron combat controller hammers into place a distance marker before the start of an austere landing exercise at Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Feb. 9, 2016. Combat controllers supported the training for multiple aircraft deployed to Bulgaria as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which aims to assure the U.S.’s commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Luke Kitterman)

A 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10C Thunderbolt II takes off during a training exercise at Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Feb. 10, 2016. The aircraft deployed to Bulgaria in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve to bolster air power capabilities while assuring the U.S. commitment to European security and stability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Luke Kitterman)

A 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10C Thunderbolt II takes off during a training exercise at Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Feb. 10, 2016. The aircraft deployed to Bulgaria in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve to bolster air power capabilities while assuring the U.S. commitment to European security and stability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Luke Kitterman)

PLOVDIV, Bulgaria (AFNS) -- Airmen from the 352nd Special Operations Wing supported deterrence-specific training here in conjunction with the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron Feb. 9-11.

A-10C Thunderbolt II pilots, assigned to the 74th EFS and currently deployed to Bulgaria as part of the European Theater Security Package, performed unimproved surface landings on an austere landing strip to simulate conditions of a deployed environment.

"The A-10 is a fighter aircraft that specializes in close air support," said Lt. Col. Bryan France, the 74th EFS commander. "This training will prepare our pilots to land in a variety of surface conditions allowing us to bring the fight even further."

To aid the pilots, 321st Special Tactics Squadron combat controllers surveyed and set up the landing strip with visual reference markers while also providing air traffic control.

"A lot of preparation is done by the combat controllers to make the austere landing strip as favorable as possible for the pilots," France said. "They go in early to control that airfield and provide to the pilots' needs."

Austere landings are nothing new for the TSP mission; however, the A-10s were not the only aircraft using the landing strip. An MC-130J Commando II, assigned to 67th Special Operations Squadron, also practiced landing on the unimproved surface, bringing with it a key capability.

"The MC-130 is a tactical airlifter designed to operate in austere environments," said Capt. Justin Nadal, a 67th SOS MC-130J aircraft commander. "Because it can carry a lot more cargo while simultaneously having the ability to land in these difficult conditions, it makes for an effective aircraft to provide supplies to troops on the ground or in this case a forward area refueling point to extend the range of our aircraft assets."

A forward area refueling point, or FARP, is a location where fuel can be transferred from one aircraft to another; in this case from the MC-130 to the A-10s.

There are less than 60 Airmen in the Air Force that share the title of FARP team member and Senior Airman Tristan Mitchell, a 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels operator, is one of them.

"We can provide fuel to a range of different aircraft," Mitchell said. "Our job is to make sure our birds get the fuel they need quickly to get back in the fight faster."

The FARP team can be ready to transfer fuel in less than 15 minutes after exiting the MC-130. Once set up, the MC-130 can provide tens of thousands of pounds of fuel to multiple aircraft in a matter of minutes.

This fast-paced refueling and interoperability between different groups is a continued effort to sustain enemy deterrence and assure European allies the U.S. commitment to the region.

"FARP operations in combination with austere field operations provide commanders the ability to project combat capability to areas otherwise denied by traditional airpower methods," France said. "This exercise demonstrates our ability to integrate across commands with joint forces while supporting our NATO allies."

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: A view from the cockpit! Fly along with this @48FighterWing #F15 pilot as the @USAirForce 🇺🇸 and #UK’s @RoyalAirForce 🇬🇧…
#USAF medics from the 51st Medical Group joined the Center for the Sustainment of Trauma & Readiness Skills medical… https://t.co/bDYawsDW5h
Can you see in the dark? In this #photo, training is conducted at Melrose Air Force Range, New Mexico during Emera… https://t.co/vYjameEBlA
SSgt. Pete Taijeron, 254th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer, uses a circular sa… https://t.co/GMmW7rWoVv
An #F15C takes off during @NATO's Tactical Leadership Programme 18-4 at Amendola AB, Italy, where the focus is deve… https://t.co/PNo5CdB1zC
Mark your calendars; the @AFThunderbirds 2019 season dates are here. https://t.co/sVcgLXzxEA https://t.co/jlsJwPMZMd
Mathematician and #GPS innovator, Gladys West, is inducted into Space and Missiles Pioneers Hall of Fame. @AFSpacehttps://t.co/ZGs8CFfMkS
Military training instructors can get just about anyone ready for duty! This #FlashbackFriday takes #Santa through… https://t.co/5M7iHhU21m
RT @SecAFOfficial: To increase readiness & use money wisely, we have recommended basing the next three squadrons of F-35s at Tyndall. With…
#CMSAF Kaleth Wright advocates for #Airmen to arm themselves with knowledge as the #BlendedRetirementSystem opt-in… https://t.co/HRmZIda6aM
A day the U.S. will never forget. At 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, a Japanese force of 183 airplanes attacked… https://t.co/hzE55jRp23
Congratulations are in order @LukeAFB as the 308th Fighter Squadron reactivates, training the world’s greatest figh… https://t.co/XRHrTSUYTj
RT @EielsonAirForce: @CMTTop20 visited the Iceman team last week. Here’s a sneak peek of their visit to the Arctic Survival School. @PACAF
#AirForce Installation and Mission Support Center Resources Directorate's first on-site responder since… https://t.co/pJKTWqXOjw
‘Conflict Anywhere Will Be Conflict Everywhere' is the motto for Multi-Domain Command & Control. #MDC2 aims to figu… https://t.co/nFzxBUHRoS
VCSAF Gen. Stephen Wilson meets #AirForce cadets @ the 10th Annual National Security Scholars Conf in Pittsburg, PA… https://t.co/akLCM7RBaA
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: “We’ve got to be able to deliver capabilities from the lab bench to the warfighter faster...if you’ve got an idea that…
Watching the skies...@Norad_Northcom provides a potent military response capability, protecting Canada and the U.S.… https://t.co/jtHVHBmK6o