Hancock Air National Guard Base, N.Y. --
In keeping with the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the 174th Maintainers have been focusing on new ways to accomplish their mission in peer-adversary threat domains.
“Our goal is to demonstrate our capability to launch and fix aircraft in a contested environment,” said Colonel Kate Hutson, 174th Maintenance Group Commander. “For this exercise we wanted to test our ability use Multi-Capable Airmen, to push a small, cross-functional team forward to Wheeler Sack Army Airfield to load munitions and launch aircraft.”
174th Wing Inspection Team Airmen and 174th Attack Wing Inspector General (IG) personnel were critical in evaluating every aspect of the maintenance operation that the 174th Maintenance Group airmen routinely perform but with the addition of a wide array of threat scenarios and adversary capabilities that would be expected when operating in United States European or Pacific Command areas of responsibility.
“The inspector general core team is a small organization, so we rely on subject matter experts throughout each graded and inspected organization,” said Mr. Geoffrey Larkin, 174th Inspection Coordinator. “Subject matter experts provide the IG the best feedback.”
The exercise was the culmination of a year-long pivot in training and evaluation that the 174th Attack Wing undertook to meet the challenges of a changing threat environment throughout the world.
“The purpose of this Full Scale Readiness Exercise is to demonstrate 174 Attack Wing capabilities to engage in Agile Combat Employment and Support while operating in a degraded, and/or operationally-limited environment against a near-peer opponent,” said Larkin.
The MQ-9 platform brings a host of capabilities that can meet some of those challenges and the 174th Attack Wing is leading the way in the MQ-9 community in forging this new path. The IG team has been involved in evaluation every step of the way but has allowed the Wing to train however needed while ensuring the correct requirements for Unit Effectiveness Inspections were met.