12th Combat Aviation Brigade (12th CAB) and the 2d Air Support Operations Squadron (2 ASOS) are united in a "fight-tonight" mentality -- always prepared to stand with NATO and its allies against any threat. The units' mutual relationship has several benefits, including: enabling 2 ASOS to achieve currency requirements, developing 12th CAB's attack rotary wing pilots, and further strengthening NATO's resolve in deterring a near-peer threat.
Enabling 2 ASOS
2 ASOS is a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) unit that supports the 2d Cavalry Regiment and 173d with close air support command control capability. In addition, they are the only permanent TACP HQ in Europe. Thus, a great amount of effort is given to balance their control currencies with quality-based training. They work with both US and allied fixed-wing and rotary wing units to maintain these requirements, but because of demands across EUCOM, it can become a challenge to align their collective training objectives.
"With the help of the 12th CAB, we've been able to increase our live-fly training events this year over 300% more than the previous year, while staying about 6 months ahead on currencies," said Maj. Sullivan, Director of Operations, 2 ASOS.
By training with 1-3 ARB during their July 2017 gunnery, 2 ASOS was able to meet 1/3 of their semiannual training requirements while enhancing joint firepower integration.
Arming 12th CAB
JTACs from 2 ASOS provided controls through individual crew tables (III-VI). Newer aviators as well as ones with more experience benefit from this type of integration because it trains them in accordance with NATO standards for utilizing attack rotary-wing aviation to neutralize and destroy enemy threats. Controls ranged from types 1 through 3, and varied in complexity, requiring aircrews to understand and properly execute the JTAC's instructions in order to qualify on the table. As a result of the training, 1-3 ARB's aircrews are proficient in rotary-wing 5 and 9-line controls and stand ready to deploy in support of NATO forces.
Training between 12th CAB and 2 ASOS during 1-3 ARB's July 2017 gunnery has proven how the successful integration of attack aviation and TACP units can deliver a rapid, deadly, and effective force to stand up to NATO adversaries. The training revealed the partnership's proficiency in identifying threats correctly and utilizing appropriate brevity and procedures to coordinate for the neutralization or destruction of the target quickly and efficiently.
A Strong Europe is necessary to deter the threat of a near-peer force and its potential partners. "Focus in this theater has changed over the last three years primarily from assurance to credible deterrence, and with that comes the need to demonstrate our capabilities beyond just irregular warfare," said Sullivan.
Continued work between the two units is being planned for future exercises which will allow both to further demonstrate the power of effective joint firepower integration in Europe while continuing to develop a mutual relationship of readiness.