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ISR squadrons partner up

  • Published
  • By By. Staff Sgt. Ashley L. Gardner
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing/Public Affairs

Al Udeid Air Base host a variety of mission capabilities, including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. The 763rd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron and the 7th Expeditionary Airborne Command and Control Squadron partner to train and execute the ISR mission.

The 763rd ERS employs the U.S. Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint providing intelligence at all levels of warfare. Its partnering squadron, the 7th Expeditionary Airborne Command and Control Squadron, employs the U.S. Air Force E-8 Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System providing Command and Control and ISR throughout multiple areas of operations.

Both squadrons have different missions, but the missions complement each other and provide enhanced battlespace awareness.

“When we are tasked to work together, the crews are proficient in doing so. Integration is a skill that requires practice,” said Maj. Michael Gray 7th EACCS director of operations. “Having both aircraft at the installation allows them to practice together.”

As mission partners, the two ISR units work and train together to ensure efficient execution of the mission. Thus, participating in integration training is a big part of the process.

On any given day, ISR units fly missions from one end of Air Force Central Command Area of Responsibility to another. They focus on shifting their collection targets as they swing across the spectrum, plugging in and integrating with other assets in real-time. This allows them to rapidly adjust to the changes that are directed by the combatant commander, close data collection gaps within the constellation of sensors, and quickly establish decision making advantages for both battlefield and component commanders.

“As the combatant commander’s priorities change, we must be ready to support those changes, even if it means moving from one area of responsibility to another,” said Lt. Col. Michael Felder, 763rd ERS director of operations. “It may take multiple intelligence capabilities to satisfy the commander’s requirements and not all of those intelligence capabilities may reside on one jet.”

Multiple platforms working together closes gaps in coverage that would exist if one aircraft was working alone.

“It always starts with a common objective. We emphasize our relative strengths against a target and then collaborate on how to maximize strengths and minimize limitations through integration,” said Felder.

Integrated intelligence doesn’t just find and destroy targets, it also identifies friendly and enemy forces.  The intelligence collected saves lives and speaks to the desire to win wars efficiently.

 “We can no longer afford to fly a series of disconnected, single discipline missions in hopes that someone in the [continental U.S.] pieces it all together,” said Felder. “The adversary is a dynamic-thinking actor constantly seeking to maximize advantages. The adversary watches our forces just as we watch theirs, and has objectives to reach, and knows there are obstacles they must surpass to get there; therefore, they look to maximize any relative advantage they have against us to reach their goals.”