Staff Report | STAR Delta (P) Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The Provisional Space Training and Readiness Delta’s Operating Location Alpha recently supported Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing in Operation Noble Defender which took place Jan. 19 to 22, 2021.
A search-and-rescue/personnel recovery exercise, Operation Noble Defender is a North American Aerospace Defense Command Arctic air-defense operation.
“The Noble Defender exercise series seeks to support a variety of campaign objectives for both the NORAD Command and U.S. Northern Command,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph Alkire III, 611th Air Operations Center deputy commander. “While the Noble Defender series can exercise a wide range of activities, objectives center around the demonstration and ability to conduct agile combat employment principles across the North American area of operation while strategically messaging U.S. and Canadian bi-national defense of the homelands.”
Alaska Air National Guard Maj. Daniel Kozak, 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130 pilot and aircraft commander, summarized the wing’s mission profile during the exercise.
“The point of this flight today is to practice our search-and-rescue capabilities,” he said. “Every time a mission drops from the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center we are deployed to search for the survivor. Our triad, the HH60’s, HC130J’s, and 212th Rescue Squadron, work together to locate and extract civilians and military personnel during peace and wartime missions respectively.”
Kozak said the SERE specialist simulating the downed pilot used a satellite beacon to provide the HC-130 with his location, and he communicated with the crew using a UHF/VHF radio.
“To accomplish this mission, we practice scenarios locating simulated survivors using the HC-130’s electro-optical infrared camera and radios,” Kozak said. “Forward-looking infrared and radios are used on the HH-60. A care package is sometimes air dropped via the HC-130 and can include radios so the pilots and survivors can communicate with us.”
Once the crew located the simulated pilot, the Combat King loadmaster air dropped a package tailored for the Arctic with survival gear the isolated person could use to stay safe and healthy until the HH-60 arrived to pick him up.
Leveraging in-house space modeling and simulation capabilities, OL-A simulated space electronic intelligence threats and provided combat survivor evader locator data from Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, directly to the cockpits of airborne HH-60G Pave Hawk’s and HC-130J Combat King II’s flying from Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson, Alaska. This tactical threat data was also processed by 176th Operations Support Squadron Intelligence personnel who were battle tracking threat orders of battle from the tactical operations center. This unit level intelligence support provides redundancy and ensures a common operating picture across the combat search and rescue task force.
“OL-A takes great pride in supporting 176th combat search and rescue aircrews with our modeling and simulation capabilities,” said U.S. Space Force Master Sgt. Christopher Salch, OL-A operations superintendent. “Receiving live simulated space data ensures that these crews experience the most realistic training possible.”
As a direct result of the expertise of OL-A Guardians and Airmen, Pave Hawk and Combat King crew members were able to use space advanced training capabilities to enhance their combat search and rescue skills in the harsh and demanding Arctic environment.
“OL-A’s support is in direct response to Gen. Raymond’s guidance to be expert integrators, ensuring joint counterparts in all services and at all levels understand operational implications of space warfighting capabilities,” said Lt. Col. Albert “AC” Harris, OL-A director. “This type of training is vital to our nation’s Joint Force lethality and combat readiness.”