Stryking Falcons

F-16s, Strykers will train and deploy together

From Inside the Air Force:

The Air Force and Army are developing a prototype force package of F-16 fighter aircraft and Stryker ground vehicles that will train and deploy together, testing a new joint construct that demonstrates how U.S. military forces could prepare for combat and fight in the future.

The Joint Mission Capability Package is a “capabilities-based force package composed of fielded weapons systems with interoperable information network equipment,” Col. Louis Durkac, who is leading the development of the “Joint MCP,” told Inside the Air Force this week. Durkac is the Air National Guard assistant to the director of requirements at Air Combat Command headquarters, Langley Air Force Base, VA.

Durkac and his team at ACC, along with the Army’s Stryker program management office, are drafting a concept of operations for the Joint MCP, and are heavily involved in planning for the prototype package.

The mission package now in development will pair a number of Air Force F-16C+ fighter squadrons with an Army Stryker Brigade Combat Team into a single joint force package that will train and deploy together.

Earlier, the Air Force received some Strykers for close air support operations with the 172nd Brigade, which deploys to Iraq this fall.

Now the flyboys are (gasp) actually teaming with Big Green with the help of the communications and navigation equipment in the Stryker. Earlier experiments trying to incorporate Stryker Brigade Combat Team soldiers directly into USAF A-10 squadrons were a dismal failure.

The first JMCP combined team may be ready by next summer. No word on which units will participate.

Comments

  1. This program is DOA. Any program that relies on the following is going to have issues. ~ An edge organization will have to exist inside a military hierarchy ~ A military edge organization will be a network/hierarchy blend Unity of effort more important than unity of command ~ Must be equally adept at performing along a spectrum from tight control to self-synchronization (based on assumptions) So basically, this organization is a team concept between the air force and army without transfer of command or an establishment of standards with the goal of ‘self-synchronization’ of forces. One issue: The communication and intelligence link is a great idea, so who in the army is going to pee in a cup & and have his relatives grilled. There is that pesky Air Force security clearance thing. This really sounds like an interdepartmental set up. Who the target is, I am not sure. F-16C+ are good planes, but in truth the A-10 (or the Harrier) would be the natural fit with the Styrker mission. Source http://www.dodccrp.org/events/2005/10th/CD/presentations/063.pdf

  2. This is nice in a team-bulding buddies-having-BBQs kind of way but I don’t really see the military logic behind it. Is the plan going to be to have a couple of F-16s overhead the Stryker brigade at all times, ready to strike? What if someone else nearby needs a strike? Would they divert and help them? What if the Stryker brigade runs across no resistance all day? It seems to me it would make more sense to have a shared pool of aircraft overhead, ready for anyone in trouble to call down support. Otherwise you’re duplicating effort and wasting resources. That is, assuming that the ground forces don’t need air support most of the time. Is there some aspect to this I’m not understanding?

  3. I think what you are seeing here is weaving the Army’s new unit life cycles (train – deploy – recover) with the USAF expeditionary forces so that you form habitual relationships that allow your JTACs and FOs to gain more experience and training with CAS while at home station, build on that at the CTCs, and then allow for better planning in the event of a real world deployment. Aligning with the SBCTs makes sense, since they are an early entry force (my assumption is that they are also aligning USAF units with our rapid reaction, forced entry units as well) and it is therefore to each units’ advantage to have shared training experiences and relationships between planners to make real world planning and ops go smoother. Want I don’t see is that these relationships will subordinate control of the platforms exclusively to the ground commander. Instead, you will still have your ATO cycles and emergency CAS as you have always had.