US troops with allies and partners have taken part in a four-day intensive exercise on creating live munitions in an austere environment provided planning and production necessary to support future contingency operation.
Airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group hosted approximately 160 Airmen to participate in the United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa’s inaugural Combat Ammunition Production Exercise at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England July 16-19, 2018.
The purpose of the exercise is to train units in the mass production of conventional munitions at rates necessary to support future contingency operations, while bolstering USAFE-AFARICA’s wartime readiness and demonstrating to allies and partners its ability to rapidly deter adversaries and defend their sovereign skies against malign aggression.
“Our Total Force Airmen are focused on warfighting readiness,” said Brigadier General Roy Agustin, Director of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Headquarters USAFE-AFARICA. “Exercises like this help us to refine our best practices and keep our skills razor sharp, which ultimately bolsters readiness and demonstrates our ability to act rapidly, deter adversaries and defend our Allies and partners.”
Participating units included the 9th Munitions Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, Calif., 31st MXG, Aviano Air Base, Italy, 48th MXG, 52nd MXG, Spangdahlem AB, Germany, 86th Logistics Readiness Group, Ramstein AB, Germany, the 422nd Air Base Group, 501st Combat Support Wing, RAF Alconbury, England and the 913th Maintenance Squadron, 913th Airlift Group, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
During the exercise, munitions experts demonstrated their ability to build a variety of munitions including the AGM-158 joint air-to-surface standoff missiles, AIM-9/120 air-to-air missiles, GBU-31/38/54 joint direct attack munitions, GBU-10/12/24/28 laser-guided bombs and GBU-39 small diameter bombs.
“The goal is to ensure we are postured correctly to bring the fight to the enemy,” said Master Sgt. Philip Severance, 48th Munitions Squadron, Munitions Accountable Systems Officer. “A lot of planning with our host nation went into setting up this event to ensure our Airmen could have this experience.”
The training provided Airmen an avenue to learn and ask questions as they refine tactics, techniques and procedures, which contributes to their overall professional development and combat readiness.
“We have the opportunity to clarify and identify what our protocols are and ultimately determine which tasks we’re proficient in and which tasks we need to improve on,” said Senior Airman Jacob Head, 48th Munitions Squadron.
Planning for the exercise began in late 2017. Continued CAPEX training is expected in the future and will enable a faster response from U.S. Airmen to any aggression by any adversary against the sovereign territory of U.S. partners and NATO allies.