Western Air Defense Sector controllers participate in RAZOR TALON 23-1

  • Published
  • By Kimberly D. Burke, Western Air Defense Sector Public Affairs

The Western Air Defense Sector’s 225th Air Defense Squadron successfully launched a new Battle Management Team construct here July 24-28, 2023, as part of Exercise RAZOR TALON 23-1.

WADS showcased the agile combat employment (ACE) drill which incorporated a focus on executing operations involving local airports coordinating with centralized airports featuring international or long-distance flights.

Exercise RAZOR TALON 23-1 was hosted by the 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, and provided realistic training scenarios and an opportunity for WADS to conduct homeland defense efforts against simulated airborne threats.

“The 225th ADS surveillance technicians were tasked with fully integrating side-by-side with air weapons officers and weapons directors during each event,” said Capt. Bryan Villanueva, Chief of Tactics for the 225th ADS. “This is very different than how WADS normally employs its surveillance technicians and is similar to how the AWACS and Control and Reporting Centers (CRC) operate.”

WADS optimized its command and control procedures by integrating two Air Defense Artillery Fire Control Officers (ADAFCO) from the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade from Fort Liberty, North Carolina. On the operations floor, the ADAFCOs worked alongside WADS controllers to better integrate Patriot missiles into the exercise scenarios. They successfully coordinated the simulated engagement of multiple enemy aircraft and multiple cruise missiles during integrated air and missile defense.

WADS is one of two Air National Guard air defense sectors in the continental United States, under the command of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). They identify, monitor, and track suspect air traffic approaching and traveling through North American airspace. They closely coordinate air defense activities with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to monitor the airspace and respond to assistance and emergency situations and to enforce temporary flight restriction areas.

NORAD ensures U.S. and Canadian aerospace control to include air defense operations through a network of alert fighters, tankers, airborne early warning aircraft, rotary wing air interceptors, and ground-based air defense assets cued by interagency and defense radars.

Operations were able to support offensive strike, defense counter-air and air mobility insertion missions and mitigated airborne gaps when needed. They were also able to support the 4th FW’s Wing Operations Center (WOC) with tracking dynamic changes to base statuses and quickly relay exercise information, emphasizing ACE concepts.

Villanueva said that by the end of RAZOR TALON 23-1, WADS had provided tactical support for 275 aircraft sorties, which included F-15E Strike Eagles, F-15EX Eagle II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft, E-3 Sentry, an airborne warning and control system aircraft, B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft, KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling tankers, and multiple C-17 Globemaster III, C-130H Super Hercules mobility aircraft – showcasing the interoperability dynamic and total force concepts of the exercise.