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Unit consolidation rejuvenates adversary threat replication training

(U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman 1st Class Jeremy Wentworth)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --

In support of unit revitalization efforts, the 57th Adversary Tactics Group (ATG) inactivated the 57th Adversary Tactics Support Squadron (ATSS) and distributed the pilots, ground controller operators, and air, space and cyberspace personnel to the 507th Air Defense Aggressor Squadron (ADAS) and the 64th Aggressor Squadron (AGRS).

Inactivating the 57th ATSS and distributing its capabilities meets the changing mission of the 57th ATG, which is to provide multi-dimensional realistic threat replication for combat air forces.

“We took three squadrons and transformed them into two warfighting game-changers,” said Col. John Gallemore, 57th ATG commander. “Now, our partners and allies training at the Nevada Test and Training Range will face a replication of multi-dimensional adversaries that fully challenge our warfighters’ lethality with a nearly impenetrable force.”

Prior to the inactivation, the 57th ATSS was a divided force, with more than half of the mission dedicated to sustaining aircrew flight equipment (AFE) and the remaining portion focused on sustaining a functioning Adversary Tactics and Weapons (ATW) component.

“Essentially, the ATW provides realistic training, unrivaled expertise, an integration of the domains (air, land, space and cyberspace) and adversary threat replication for the Aggressors,” said Lt. Col. Ruben Amezaga, 507th ADAS director of operations.

Just prior to the summer of 2018, the aircrew flight equipment function was removed from the 57th ATSS and aligned under the U.S. Air Force Weapons School. Despite the reduction in squadron personnel, Aggressor training continued without interruption.
“After the AFE function was removed, the function of the squadron remained the same,” said Amezaga. “We lost no capability to our customers and continued to provide adversary threat replication.”

However, rather than continue pouring funds into a minimally manned unit, the 57th ATG saw an opportunity to revitalize two of the group’s seven squadrons. The ATW component remained active and moved to the 507th ADAS, and the F-16 pilots and ground controllers, who provide pilots with a blueprint of surface-based threats, moved to the 64th AGRS.

“Ultimately, we got two squadrons built up by shutting down the (57th) ATSS, and, overall, it’s more efficient,” said Amezaga. “By making the move, we were able to increase the squadrons’ future manning requirements.”

An increase in requirements translates to intense multi-dimensional training for U.S. and allied nations’ combat air forces participating in Red Flag, which is the U.S. Air Force's premier air-to-air combat training exercise held at Nellis three times annually.

The 507th ADAS works with the Nevada Test and Training Range to provide surface-to-air threat simulations using air, space and cyberspace components.

“Essentially, the (507th ADAS) runs the scenarios and directs during Red Flag – how we’re going to operate integrated air defense,” said Amezaga. “We’re telling our controllers how to target, when to target, how to degrade certain aspects of the air defense, so we can provide a realistic threat representation of the bad guy.”

Conversely, the 64th AGRS F-16 pilots and ground controllers provide air-to-air threat simulations using replicated adversarial airframes.

Together, the 507th ADAS and the 64th AGRS’ provide complex adversary threat replications to prepare pilots for real-world encounters with near-peer adversaries.

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