Viper FAC-A Effectiveness of the F-16 Block-40
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
Pagination or Media Count:
The USAF recently put its personnel, training, and equipment to the ultimate test combat during Operation Allied Force. During OAF, F-16 Block-40 equipped units flew as Forward Air Controllers Airborne for the first time in major combat operations. This study focuses on what the FAC-As learned from the war and how they can perform better in the next conflict. By looking at the past and adapting it to the future, one can be more successful. In that light, this paper first lays the foundation by describing applicable events of OAF. These include mission descriptions, training programs, and technology. Next, the research attempts to analyze how the training and technology impacted these missions. Prior to OAF, the 31 FW was well trained in NVGs, night flying, and basic FAC-A procedures. However, they were not adequately trained in the medium altitude autonomous operations they found themselves in over Kosovo. They had also not trained with the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance platforms available during the war. Additionally Higher Headquarters annual requirements were not in line with combat events. Technology also played a role in FAC-A effectiveness. In particular, the targeting pod was not up to the task of finding and identifying targets effectively. The lack of connectivity and real time information in the cockpit was another major technology shortcoming. This study concludes with recommendations to improve these shortcomings. The recommendations focus on training and technology and are all easily achievable. Since the F-16 will likely be called upon to perform the role of FAC-A many times, it is imperative to learn from the lessons of combat.
- Military Aircraft Operations
- Attack and Fighter Aircraft
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics