HomeNewsNews

Moody 'shields' aircraft from adversaries during CS

Staff Sgt. Josh Christy, left, and Senior Airman Hunter Warren, 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit avionics specialists, check an A-10C Thunderbolt II’s radar emissions during Combat Shield, Dec. 5, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. After the weeklong evaluation, Maj. Mike Chavannes, the CS mission director assigned to the 53d Electronic War Group, Eglin AFB, Fla., said Moody’s aircraft are combat ready with proficient primary threat detection systems and have the ability to successfully detect incoming enemy threats. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Nash)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Josh Christy (left) and Senior Airman Hunter Warren (right), 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit avionics specialists, check an A-10C Thunderbolt II’s radar emissions during Combat Shield, Dec. 5, 2016, Moody Air Force Base, Ga. As a part of the annual training exercise, the 53rd Electronic Warfare Group from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., tested Moody’s electronic warfare protection capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Nash)

Staff Sgt. Jarrod Eckerd, a Combat Shield crew leader assigned to the 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., simulates radar emissions with a USM-642 “Raven” signal generator during Combat Shield, Dec. 5, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. From Nov. 30 – Dec. 6, 16th EWS Airmen evaluated the EW operations and maintenance actions for Moody’s aircraft fleet to ensure they can maintain dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Nash)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jarrod Eckerd, a Combat Shield crew leader assigned to the 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., simulates radar emissions with a USM-642 “Raven” signal generator during Combat Shield, Dec. 5, 2016, Moody Air Force Base, Ga. From Nov. 30 through Dec. 6, 2016, EWS Airmen evaluated the electronic warfare operations and maintenance actions for Moody’s aircraft fleet to ensure they can maintain dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Nash)

An Airman assigned to the 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., secures a coupler on an A-10C Thunderbolt II during Combat Shield, Dec. 5, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. To help achieve Combat Shield’s goal of ensuring pilot’s survivability through proficient aircraft radar warning receivers, electronic attack pods and integrated EW systems, Moody’s 23d Maintenance Group checks their equipment twice a year through their own evaluation program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Nash)

A U.S. Airman assigned to the 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., secures a coupler on an A-10C Thunderbolt II during Combat Shield, Dec. 5, 2016, Moody Air Force Base, Ga. To help achieve Combat Shield’s goal of ensuring pilot’s survivability through proficient aircraft radar warning receivers, electronic attack pods and integrated electronic warfare systems, Moody’s 23rd Maintenance Group checks their equipment twice a year through their own evaluation program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Nash)

Airmen from Moody’s 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit and the 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., test an A-10C Thunderbolt II’s threat detection system during Combat Shield, Dec. 5, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Annually, crews from Eglin conduct a weeklong evaluation of EW systems for more than 20 Air Force wings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Nash)

U.S. Airmen from Moody Air Force Base’s 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit and the 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., test an A-10C Thunderbolt II’s threat detection system during Combat Shield, Dec. 5, 2016, Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Annually, crews from Eglin conduct a weeklong evaluation of electronic warfare systems for more than 20 Air Force wings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Nash)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Moody’s aircraft fleet routinely exhibits its abilities by providing mission-ready combat, rescue and transient assets.

In order to attack, rescue and prevail, these guardians of the skies must be able to protect themselves, especially from electronic warfare.

As a part of an annual training exercise, the 53rd Electronic Warfare Group from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, tested Moody’s electronic warfare protection capabilities during Combat Shield Nov. 30 to Dec. 6 here.  

“Combat Shield is about changing the Air Force culture, so tomorrow’s electronic warfare risk is reflected in today’s operations and maintenance actions,” said Maj. Mike Chavannes, 36th Electronic Warfare Squadron Combat Shield mission director. “This exercise isn’t just an inspection where we collect data and write a report. We have to look at the procedures, practices and training of units to ensure this culture change.

“This change is important, because the EW field’s emphasis has been downplayed [since] the environments we’ve gone into have shown little resistance to our EW capabilities,” Chavannes added. “The problem with this is that like a muscle, if you don’t exercise it and allow it to atrophy, it won’t work like you need it to at its full strength.”

According to Chavannes, the transition from only examining units prior to their departure for deployments into mandated annual scheduled visits has strengthened the unit’s abilities to be combat ready at a moment’s notice. With this transition, the focus has remained constant.  

“Our centralized objective has always been about [the pilot’s] survivability and how we can maintain dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum,” Chavannes said. “I owe my life to EW, because I’ve flown in [contested] enemy airspaces and had to rely on my radar warning receivers, electronic attack pods and integrated EW systems to survive. All of these components are necessary to signal the aircraft when there’s a threat present to degrade, fend off and neutralize enemy targets.”

According to Chavannes, these capabilities are accomplished with a multitude of actions. He says that avoiding detection is the goal, but if an aircrew is found by the enemy, the aircraft’s EW system has disruption devices. However, if the enemy can successfully get detection and launch missiles, pilots can use chaffe and flare within the electromagnetic spectrum to accomplish the mission.

“It’s basically a chess game where you have to hide from the enemy while at the same time they are trying to do the same,” Chavannes said. “Throughout these strategic practices, we try to find every advantage over the enemy. This wouldn’t be possible without EW. That’s why it’s so important, because it’s the reason we can protect and bring our aircrews back home safely.”

Moody’s 23rd Maintenance Group worked alongside the 53rd EWG from dawn to dusk to ensure aircraft could launch with the ability to successfully detect incoming enemy threats. According to Tech Sgt. Ryan Doiron, 23rd MXG wing avionics manager, CS was an excellent large scope view for the base’s EW maintenance actions.

“Our job is to produce combat ready aircraft at the highest percentage possible, and CS is a great measuring stick for that combat readiness,” Doiron said. “We have our own mandated independent EW systems evaluation program, but this exercise gives us another opportunity to see our aircraft’s capabilities and test equipment to remedy in-flight emergencies.

“It was good to exchange ideas with the CS team and go over the lessons learned and how to move forward with certain trends found,” Doiron added. “Once the evaluations are over and reported back to us, we can create checklists and action plans to negate certain issues if need be. It’s a huge plus to participate in CS and it feel’s great to be a part of the EW mission because of the major impact we have in the avionics world.”

Throughout the evaluation, this impact showed just how valuable Moody’s avionics practices are and it didn’t go unnoticed. According to Chavannes, Moody’s aircraft are combat ready with proficient primary threat detection systems and have the ability to successfully detect incoming enemy threats.