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TACPs control the skies of Barry Goldwater Range

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. John S. Chapman
  • 181st Intelligence Wing
Tactical Air Control Party Airmen from the 181st Intelligence Wing, 113th Air Support Operations Squadron, honed their skills during a Snowbird Exercise, Feb. 21-25.

The 12 TACP Airmen conducted live close air support training at the Barry Goldwater Range to maintain their combat mission ready status and equipment training.

The TACP Airmen spent many hours in the field coordinating air support missions, which guided attack and fighter pilots to targets in the tactical range complex. 

To find their targets, the Joint Terminal Attack Controllers provided the pilots with GPS coordinates, laser markers, and target "talk-ons."  During night operations, Airmen used a laser pointing device that could only be seen by the pilots wearing night vision goggles. 

During the week long deployment, TACPs were trained on mission preparation and scenario generation, high frequency beyond line of sight radio communications, technical vehicle navigation systems, day and night targeting equipment, day and night close air support, said the 113th ASOS Chief Joint Tactical Air Control - Instructor.

By the end of the exercise, the 113th ASOS TACPs had accomplished over 150 different CAS controls. 

The TACP Airmen coordinated the release of Mark-82 High Explosive unguided bombs, 2.75 white phosphorus rockets, Bomb Dummy Unit-33 training bombs, and shooting of both 30mm and 20mm training rounds. 

During their twelve-hour days, the TACP Airmen worked with both U.S. and foreign partners that were flying F-16 Fighting Falcons, A-10 Thunderbolt, F-35 Lightning IIs, and C-130 Hercules aircraft that were flown from Luke and Davis-Monthan Air Force Bases in Arizona.

"This exercise provided the opportunity for our Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and TACP members to obtain valuable training that isn't possible on our local ranges in Indiana," said Lt. Col. Chris Snider, 113th ASOS commander. "This included the directing and controlling of over 24 live 500lb bombs that were delivered from our fellow Hoosier squadron of A-10's from Fort Wayne. In addition, this was the first time for many of our members to work with the F-35 Lightning II in a Close Air Support role."