By CW3 Paul Olson
Since the last iteration of “JCAT Corner,” the Joint Combat Assessment Team (JCAT) has continued to face and meet numerous challenges associated with the coronavirus pandemic and the related new normal of teleworking and restricted travel. In particular, due to ongoing concerns with the Delta variant of COVID-19, JCAT’s yearly keystone event—the Threat Weapons and Effects (TWE) 2021 training—had to be cancelled. JCAT still came together, however, at Eglin AFB and hosted training and briefings from the Missile and Space Intelligence Center, Naval Air Warfare Center, and others, which allowed the newest members of the team to finish their training and become official members of JCAT.
Following the abbreviated TWE, JCAT-Army (Aviation Survivability Development and Tactics [ASDAT]) proceeded to Eglin AFB (at a later date) to detonate two munitions on a CH-47D frame. With help from Eglin’s explosive ordnance disposal and range control, the detonations were a success, and some high-definition, slow-motion video was able to be captured for the ASDAT library. CW4 Mark Chamberlin arranged for the CH-47D to be transported back ASDAT’s battle lab at Fort Rucker, where the airframe will be used for years to come to train JCAT and Army Air Mission Survivability Officers throughout the aviation community in battle damage effects, damage collection, and forensics. JCAT-Navy’s LCDR Sean Stanowski also participated in the munitions detonation and recovery of the airframe.
Additionally, ASDAT attended JASP’s Automated Combat Incident Reporting demonstration at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in September. This event demonstrated a proof-of-concept in which sensor information, aircraft systems information, and countermeasure response information are captured and downloaded from a UH-60S and uploaded into a database of record. JASP’s LT Tyler Harrell was able to attend and participate in the simulator missions. The aircrew performed scripted maneuvers and actions while the aircraft’s radar and missile-warning sensors were stimulated by threats. Both automatic and manual responses of expendable countermeasures were deployed to defeat the threats. Data were recorded in the ALE-47 system without the interaction of the aircrew. Upon completion of each test run, the engineers downloaded the data from the ALE-47 and uploaded the information into a commercial off-the-shelf computer and then into MARAUDER.
ASDAT also continued to provide critical support to the aviation community in time of need. During the retrograde of Afghanistan, CW4 Tyson Martin traveled on a no-notice request to provide intelligence and mission support to Army aviation units providing quick-reaction capability to the withdrawal in Kabul. During this time, our team’s intelligence analyst also provided direct support to the last remaining Army elements in Afghanistan and the Marine Corps’ 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit as they conducted retrograde operations, assisted with noncombatant evacuation operations, and provided security at the Hamid Karzai International Airport. This support occurred during a time in which the security situation in Kabul was deteriorating rapidly and came in the form of constant collaboration with forward deployed elements, the Army Aviation Center of Excellence’s Threat Branch, various intelligence agencies, and Department of State representatives.
ASDAT was also present at the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site, where it worked with the Aviation Survivability office to provide training, guidance, and education on the latest issues affecting the aviation community.
In addition, the Air Force JCAT continues to find ways to best support down-range operations with a smaller team. Air Force Depot Liaison Engineers continue to be trained in JCAT procedures prior to deployment, ensuring threat weapons effects are properly captured and documented. New mechanisms for identifying and deploying JCAT-trained individuals are also being explored.
Finally, in terms of hails and farewells, ASDAT would like to welcome CW4 Rich Barnett from Fort Bragg. Rich joins the team none too early, as the team is closing in on the retirement of two members and the permanent change of station of a third. We are thus looking forward to having Rich trained up and helping to usher in the next chapter of ASDAT initiatives. Likewise, Air Force JCAT congratulates Lt. Col. Andrew Roberts on an outstanding career and wishes him the best of luck in retirement.