By Capt. Daniel Adducchio, CDR Joseph Walker, and Bart Schmidt
The Joint Combat Assessment Team (JCAT), composed of U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force contingents, continues to train aircraft combat damage assessors in anticipation of future requirements to gather evidence from aircraft hostile fire incidents, provide immediate threat data to combatant aircraft unit commanders, and make data available for engineering improvements to reduce the loss of lives and aircraft.
Since our last update, 20 JCAT student assessors completed Phase II and III training required to qualify as trained aircraft combat damage assessors. In March, the Navy hosted JCAT Phase II training at Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake, CA. During Phase II training, JCAT trainees from the Navy, Army, and Air Force applied threat knowledge and forensic assessment principles that were learned in Phase I at Fort Rucker last January to complete a number of practical field exercises in the Navy’s combat damage boneyard. The exercises, which included a night assessment, helped advance the students’ ability to gather data and make systematic conclusions on actual threat damage in a variety of field conditions. Additionally, a weapons demonstration provided immediate effects for students to take advantage of increased knowledge of weapons engagements.
The capstone event of JCAT training, JCAT Phase III, is the annual Threat Weapons Effects (TWE) seminar. TWE draws information from threat exploitation, live fire testing, and combat experience to provide a comprehensive picture on threat lethality. This year, Navy JCAT hosted the TWE seminar at Eglin AFB, FL, in May, bringing together more than 200 military and civilian subject-matter experts in the fields of survivability, intelligence, and aircraft operation fields. Briefing topics included:
- Modern Integrated Air Defense System (IADS) Threats
- Russia/China/Iran Air Defense Artillery
- An Update on Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS)
- Warhead Design, Effects, and Future Trends
- Directed Energy Weapons
- Live, Virtual, Constructive Capability
- Overviews on Surface-to-Air Missiles.
In addition, a keynote address was provided by retired Air Force Col. Travis Willis on his perspectives as an F-111 pilot in the Gulf War.
Navy JCAT also coordinated a live fire demonstration with the 96 OSS at the Eglin test range consisting of two static detonations of two surface-to-air warheads in proximity to two F-15 vertical stabilizers. The aircraft components were put on display outside the briefing hall for participant and transported to the Army Combat Forensics Lab at Fort Rucker, AL, to use as training devices during JCAT Phase I training. The dates, location, and registration details for next year’s TWE, which will be hosted by the Air Force, will be provided through the Defense Systems Information Analysis Center (DSIAC) at a later date.
With the completion of the JCAT phase training class of 2022, 20 Joint personnel are now fully qualified JCAT assessors. Of particular note, Air Force 2nd Lt. Kervin Reyes-Lozada, who is currently in an on-alert status and ready to deploy in support of battle damage repair, completed training with this class and now stands ready to provide JCAT duties in addition to battle damage repair.
Lastly, the Army JCAT team would like to welcome CW4 Richard Barnett in joining the team and to bid a fond farewell to CW3 Paul Olson, CW4 Mark Chamberlain, and CW5 Tyson Martin. Paul’s and Mark’s diverse backgrounds as former infantrymen and aviators will be greatly missed as they begin well-earned retirements. As for Tyson, he is off to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, assigned to the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade. The entire JCAT would like to thank all three of these individuals for their service to JCAT, the Army, and the country, and we wish them and their families the best of luck on their next adventures.