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Lion 1 experiences inaugural Razor Talon flight

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  • By 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 4th Fighter Wing hosts a monthly low-cost, large-force training exercise for aviation units along the East Coast.

Capt. Michael Piazza, 335th Fighter Squadron weapons systems officer, flew in the backseat of Col. Christopher Sage's, 4th FW commander, F-15E Strike Eagle who participated in his inaugural Razor Talon flight Jan. 20.

"I am very excited to participate in today’s exercise that was created right here at SJAFB," Sage said. "Razor Talon provides a realistic training environment and opportunities for our aircrew and maintainers to sharpen their skills."

Twenty-eight aircraft from three bases and two different services participated in this month’s exercise. The exercise provides unique training opportunities and scenarios involving friendly forces fighting through contested airspace while destroying air-to-air and air-to-surface simulated threats along the North Carolina coast and Mid-Atlantic region.

Razor Talon began in 2013 and was developed to combine land, air and sea forces for joint unit participation and collaboration.

Razor Talon has also trained aircrew on realistic survival scenarios with the 4th Operations Support Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists since 2013. These scenarios simulate aircrew persisting in a hostile environment following an aircraft crash. The “downed” aircrew members use their skills to survive and evade capture while attempting to make contact for rescue.

Many distinguished visitors, including the Honorable Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force, also experienced Razor Talon firsthand in 2016. James received hands-on guidance about the refueling mission during a KC-135R Stratotanker flight and witnessed how Razor Talon enhances wartime readiness for East Coast military aviation units.

“Razor Talon is a culmination of the training we do every day” said Lt. Col. Brandon Johnson, 335th FS commander. “The experience we gain with this exercise has definitely improved our capabilities for real world contingency operations.”

Aircrew of the 335th FS flew more than 9,250 combat hours, taking out more than 1,950 enemies including more than 80 high-valued Islamic State of Iraq and Levant jihadists during their most recent deployment. Additionally, ground crew from the 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron's 335th Aircraft Maintenance Unit ran 24/7 operations to ensure the F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft could complete combatant commander’s directives at optimum performance levels.

Razor Talon has become a staple exercise of the 4th FW Sage said he plans to continue in the coming years.