Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center Advances Air Reserve Component capabilities with testing at Sentry Aloha 24-2

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Charles Givens
  • Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center

In the heart of the Pacific, Sentry Aloha, a biannual training exercise, brought together innovation and training to sharpen combat capabilities of U.S. forces. This pivotal exercise helped the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Test Center (AATC) advance modernization efforts of the Air Reserve Component (ARC), ensuring relevancy and preparedness for future operations. 

The integrated Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Test team deliver rapid combat capability to the warfighter and continuously test new technologies in an operational environment. The Sentry Aloha exercise provided an ideal environment to test future combat capabilities as well as operate in a join environment, all while supporting global operations. 

One such test was an electronic warfare (EW) countermeasure system known as "Angry Kitten." This technology can be housed in removable, adaptable pods under aircraft wings or fuselages and uses machine learning to disrupt adversarial EW capabilities. During the exercise, AATC continued testing the angry kitten technology on the F-16 Fighting Falcon with plans to incorporate the pod onto larger airframes, such as the C-130 Hercules. 

The Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) division is testing three different Tactic Improvement Proposals (TIP) while at Sentry Aloha. The three TIPs are Find, Fix, Track Downed Pilot at Sea, USMC Integration, and Maritime Wide Area Surveillance CharacterizationAATC has partnered with the Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron three to execute these TIPs while simultaneously giving them excellent continuation training scenarios.  

  

“Sentry Aloha has provided a maritime environment necessary for our Downed Pilot at Sea and Maritime Wide Area Surveillance CharacterizationBy working with our joint US Marine Corp and US Coast Guard partners, AATC was able to refine these maritime tactics, techniques, and procedures”, said Maj Ryan Nastase, ISR Division Chief 

 

AATC’s Special Warfare Division then simulated a downed pilot at sea by having a crew deploy a dye pack from a small boat. The team then optimized sensor settings to find the dye pack while also characterizing the range and duration they were able to see itThe lead project manager for the downed pilot at sea, Mr. Eric Berggren said, “This test has been extremely valuable since it was the first time we have used MQ-9 sensors to find downed aircrewTentative results indicate we can track downed aircrew beyond 70 nautical miles which will result in reduced rescue times.” 

  

The newly appointed Deputy Commander of AATC, Col. David DeAngelis said “Sentry Aloha is one of the premier exercises in the Pacific, and it provides AATC with the opportunity to operate across 140 nautical miles of the Hawaiian island chain at four different operating locations.”  Col. DeAngelis was also able to see the KC-135 team test integration of the Real-Time Information in the Cockpit system, also known as RTIC, which gives enhanced battlefield awareness. “Previously, our tankers had limited situational awareness, relying heavily on radio communications. Now, they can see threats in real-time, thanks to the integration of the Link-16 network, he explained.  

 

AATC is responsible for operational and developmental flight test, tactics development, and evaluation for all ARC weapons systems. Additionally, AATC is chartered to modernize the ARC’s Battlefield Airman Enterprise which includes Intelligence, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance, Cyber, Space, and all other Combined Test Forces.