Frag Out! Magazine

Frag Out! Magazine DSEI 2021

Frag Out! Magazine

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known, and ready to host the aircraft), with the limited ground crew. The deployed ground crew personnel, thanks to the multidisciplinary training profile, can rapidly get the jets ready to fly - even when the number of personnel is limited. The Americans are conducting ex- tensive training concerning capabilities as such. The assumption is to increase survivability and mobility of the strike elements, also en- hancing the asset management flexibility on the battlefield. The ACE exercise takes place regularly, in different theaters. For instance, in December, four F-15Es from the 48th Wing were deployed to the Scottish RAF Leuchars base, with 14 members of the ground crew. This has been enough to handle all of the ground procedures for the Strike Eagles and restore their operational readiness. Interestingly, when the F-15s were landing in Poland, another part of the ACE exer- cise assumed that six F-15Es from the 494th Squadron would deploy to Al-Dhafra in UAE, sporting the "tac-ferry" configuration (12 GBU-38 bombs, 227 kg each, plus four GBU-39 SDBs). The above mission saw the F-15E in the role of a "bomb truck" which diminishes the needs when it comes to the number of personnel needed to unload the ord- nance from a transport aircraft, assemble it, and put it on the com- bat aircraft. USAF claims that handling payload as such now only requires a single C-130, instead of two. The configuration that has been tested only recently makes it possible to carry up to 15 JDAM bombs to a forward operating base and to eventually provide bomb units to other aircraft. So far, the F-15E was only certified to carry up to 9 JDAMs. This aligns perfectly with the ACE philosophy. Note- worthy, the 85th Test & Evaluation Squadron that made the above feasible, has just started tests of another F-15E stores configura- tion - with five JASSM missiles (usually 1 to 2 are carried, and none are placed on hardpoints under the CFTs). This weapons load would also be useful in a "tac-ferry" setting. It would also make it possible Between April 19th and April 30th, 2021, both air bases of the 2nd Tactical Aviation Wing of the Polish Air Force hosted a large rotation of US Air Force Europe that came to Poland within the framework of AvDet Rotation 21.2. For the first time, F-15 fighters have been a part of the deployed detachment. Story and photos by Bartek Bera 17 AVIATION

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