By CW4 Tyson Martin, LTC Ron Pendleton, and LCDR Matthew Kiefer

The Joint Combat Assessment Team (JCAT)—which consists of Army, Navy, and Air Force elements—continues to focus on the collection of aircraft combat damage data in support of operational commanders and the aircraft survivability research and development community. JCAT stands ready for worldwide deployment to investigate and report on aircraft combat damage incidents whenever and wherever they occur. The data collected from these incidents are used to assess the threat environment and support the development of susceptibility and vulnerability reduction technologies.

JCAT hosted the second annual Susceptibility Reduction Working Group (SRWG) in Huntsville, AL, from 3 to 6 September 2019. The group brought together members from organizations such as the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation; the Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory; the Joint Aircraft Survivability Program Office; the Program Executive Office – Aviation; the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment; the Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center; the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division’s Combat Survivability Division; the Army Aviation Survivability Branch; the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center; the Institute for Defense Analyses; Pratt & Whitney; and Booz Allen Hamilton. The main topic was modeling and simulation with regard to rotary-wing aircraft and radio frequency surface-to-air missiles.

In addition, JCAT trained 27 Joint personnel as part of the JCAT class of 2019. The personnel completed the JCAT training curriculum and were designated as fully qualified JCAT assessors. Four of the Air Force JCAT members will be deploying to various overseas locations this year and are dual-hatted with battle damage repair and JCAT duties.

In 2020, the Air Force JCAT will be sending six Aircraft Battle Damage Repair Engineers and two C-130 maintainers through the JCAT training program. All will be welcomed additions to the Air Force JCAT team.Navy JCAT recently created two new assessor positions. These positions will serve as subject-matter experts (SMEs) on survivability systems/countermeasures and threat weapons, respectively. The concept provides JCAT team members with additional training in these areas of expertise to provide timely information to deployed JCAT assessors before needing to go to more specialized support. These SMEs will help other assessors collect more accurate data on survivability system effectiveness and threat weapons effects.

Navy JCAT has also returned to having a team of assessors on standby to deploy and assess a combat-related incident if called upon. Each team consists of two Navy JCAT assessors, with another two as backup, who will be ready to respond within a couple of days to wherever needed around the world to examine battle-damaged aircraft as needed.

Army JCAT would like to hail CW4 Mark Chamberlin back to the team. Mark originally joined the Aviation Survivability Development and Tactics (ASDAT) Team in 2014 as a CH-47D/F SME. In March of 2018, however, he left the team to serve a 1-year tour in Korea. Army JCAT now welcomes Mark back, as he once again brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team.

Additionally, Army JCAT hails Mr. Bart Schmidt and CW3 Andrew McCowen. Bart officially retired from active duty at the end of May 2019 after a +26-year career and was then hired on as the ASDAT Survivability Training Specialist. Andrew is coming to the team after completing a 1-year tour in Kuwait. He brings a wealth of experience with multiple combat tours as both an infantryman and aviator. His previous duty stations include Fort Campbell and Fort Riley. ASDAT is looking forward to integrating Andrew into the team as an UH-60A/L/M SME.

Finally, in May the entire JCAT farewelled Mr. Greg Fuchs as he retired after 25 years as an aircraft survivability SME. Greg made numerous contributions to the Army and Joint aircraft survivability communities through the analysis of enemy tactics, techniques, and procedures and threats to aviation; the assessment of aircraft survivability equipment capabilities and limitations; and the assessment of combat damage to improve the survivability of aircraft and its aircrews. He has left an indelible mark on the aircraft survivability community and will be sorely missed. JCAT wishes Greg and his wife, Kathy, the best in their next adventure.