WADS Wraps Up Enduring Partners 2024 Exercise

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

Airmen from the Royal Thai Air Force and the Washington Air National Guard’s 225th Air Defense Squadron participated in a subject matter expert exchange during the Enduring Partners 2024 exercise that was simultaneously held at the Western Air Defense Sector, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington and Don Muang RTAF Base, Thailand, from April 30-May 10, 2024.

Five members of the 225th Air Defense Squadron flew to Thailand via a Washington Air National Guard’s 141st Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker.  WA ANG Guardsmen worked with RTAF weapons controllers on the ground control interception line of effort.  2nd Lt. Matthew Dawson, 225th ADS senior director, briefed on fighter aircraft tactics, how to conduct a tactical mission briefing, and provided advice and feedback during tactical interception mission exercises.  In return, RTAF weapons controllers helped 225th ADS controllers learn how to use the RTAF air command and control system for tactical intercept mission exercises typically consisting of four simulated F-16 Fighting Falcons.

As part of the exchange, 30 RTAF members flew back to Washington state via the 141st ARW KC-135.  Six of the RTAF members spent two weeks at the Western Air Defense Sector working on ground control interception.  According to 2nd Lt. Tyler Shoemaker, 225th ADS air battle manager, “the training objective is to continue to build strong relationships while providing the RTAF with advance command and control concepts to assist them in further developing their own tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs).”

“The first week included discussing topics of defense counter air, offense counter air, tactical briefing format, and mission planning,” explained 1st Lt. Micah Slifer, 225th ADS air battle manager.  “The second week focused on simulated defensive counter air mission planning exercise which aimed to grow the RTAF’s team’s execution and knowledge of the processes.”

The RTAF weapons controllers utilized a simplified and sanitized battle control system-fixed (BCS-F) in the new WADS Mission Training Center (MTC).  BCS-F is used to conduct surveillance, identification, and control of U.S. sovereign airspace and control air defense assets, including fighters, to intercept and identify potential air threats to U.S. airspace.  Using the MTC provided WADS Airmen the ability to provide instant feedback on controllers ALSSA (Air Land Sea Space Application) communications, scope mechanics, and tactical intercept of each scenario.

As part of the relationship building part of the RTAF’s visit, WADS Airmen hosted several cultural day experiences where the team visited famous Seattle landmarks, such as the Seattle Space Needle and Pike’s Place Market.  They also were able to get out into the Pacific Northwest landscape and spent some time hiking Mt. Rainier and best of all, experience local cuisine in the Puget Sound.

The Washington Air National Guard commander, Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, explained that “going forward, Enduring Partners will be an aviation focused exercise in Thailand one year followed by an enabler focused exercise in both Thailand and the US the following year. This Enduring Partners exercise is really the culmination of years of working with the RTAF to get to this point where we can have a dedicated and predicable SPP (State Partnership Program) exercise every year.”

Members of the WADS are looking forward to the coming years of subject matter exchanges and strengthening internal bonds between WADS and RTAF controllers and senior leadership.