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U.S. Air Force, Navy simulate mock aerial combat in Asia-Pacific region

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Redente
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The 525th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron took part in their first joint exercise to simulate mock aerial combat with Navy aircraft from the USS George Washington (CVN 73) here June 16.

The training mission involved four USS George Washington F/A-18 Hornets and four F-22 Raptors from the 525th EFS, also known as the Five-Two-Five Bulldogs. The 525th EFS is deployed here from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, as part of the U.S. Pacific Command's Theater Security Package.

"This was an excellent opportunity to hone our air combat skills against a dissimilar adversary as well as integrate with members of the joint team," said Lt. Col. Joseph Kunkel, 525th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron director of operations. "The exercise was a huge success, and we hope to fly with our Navy counterparts again soon."

The training mission was one scenario lasting one and a half hours.

"The Hornets and Raptors practiced dissimilar air combat training and broke off into separate one-versus-one simulated 'dog fights' at the end," said Navy Cmdr. Vincent Aiello, Carrier Air Wing Five operations officer aboard George Washington. "This training provided a rare and excellent opportunity for pilots of each platform to experience the tactics and capabilities of the other."

The training followed up with a teleconference between the Five-Two-Five here and the Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier to discuss tactics used. Six Airmen from the Five-Two-Five were also able to integrate with the Sailors by visiting the USS George Washington.

"It was a great prospect for Air Force pilots to talk with their Navy counterparts, and gain a better understanding of aircraft carrier operations," the colonel said.

Although this was the first experience for the Five-Two-Five to train with the Navy aircraft in a deployed setting, Colonel Kunkel hopes to see more interaction in the future.

"We currently have no other planned training missions with the Navy, but we anticipate more opportunities will present themselves," Colonel Kunkel said.

The deployment of the F-22 Raptor, the Air Force's newest transformational weapon system, in the Pacific region signifies the United States' continued commitment to the region.

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