Fighter course trains pilots, weapon systems officers on electronic combat

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Julie Parker
  • Nellis Air Force Base Public Affairs
Ulysses S. Grant once said, "The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on."

Although the principles behind President Grant's words are still held today, warfare itself, particularly electronic warfare is far from simple with the evolution of new technology and tactics.

That's why each year, approximately 130 active- duty and Guard pilots and weapon systems officers are selected by Air Combat Command to participate in the Fighter Electronic Combat Officer Course at Nellis and acquire the skills required to become electronic combat officers.

After graduating the course, the ECOs will be responsible for maintaining their units' currency in electronic threat and equipment knowledge, as well as application of equipment modifications to important systems on their own aircraft.

The students will serve as their units' source for EW information and technology updates, said Capt. Jason Ohrenberger, the F-16/A-10 course director.

Taught at the 507th Combat Training Squadron, FECOC is broken down into two aircraft-specific versions, the F-16/A-10 course and the F-15C/E course.

Both versions follow similar training curricula, but the information is tailored to the different electronic-combat equipment of each type of aircraft.

The two-week course explores a variety of topics that are essential to ECOs.

Instructors cover basic fundamentals of radar and infrared theory, threat systems, electronic protection, and electronic attack.

Taught with a "building- block concept," FECOC is designed to take students from basic concepts to advanced studies and develop the skills the officers will need.

In addition to the corps of instructors the 507th CTS has on staff, many guest instructors contribute heavily to course success, said Captain Ohrenberger.

"FECOC depends on strong support from units on base and from other locations to come teach these classes," he said.

Across Nellis, subject-matter experts from the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, 64th and 65th Aggressor Squadrons, 422nd and 59th Test and Evaluation Squadrons, as well as other members of the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center are asked to participate in the 507th CTS' mission. Across the Air Force, instructors travel from as far as Eglin AFB, Fla., to teach the course.

The course has been taught at Nellis for approximately eight years. Before that, it was located at Eglin. For years, FECOC has been expanding the knowledge of young pilots and WSOs, contributing directly to the Air Force's proficiency in EW.

The 507th conducts five total FECOC classes a year. The next F-15 course is scheduled to begin June 19 with an F-16/A-10 course to follow on July 10.