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Shaw starts new training initiative: Superfront

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Destani K. Matheny
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
20th Fighter Wing Airmen recently created and executed a new training opportunity to enhance readiness at Shaw Air Force Base.

Known as a Super Front, this initiative pairs two fighter generation squadrons' F-16s together to increase the number of jets in the air at one time. This allows pilots, maintainers, logisticians and airfield operators from the same wing to employ large packages of aircraft during routine operations, which is a unique feat for a single wing.

“A Super Front is when one of our fighter squadrons uses both the 55th Fighter Squadron’s aircraft and the 79th Fighter Squadron’s aircraft in the same flying period,” said Capt. Andrew Guldin, 55th FS pilot. “Normally, we would fly at different times to deconflict using the same airspace; however, by both squadron’s jets going up at the same time, a lot more jets are airborne and we fly more complicated air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.”

Pilots typically train on a variety of mission sets to include offensive counter-air and defensive counter-air, which requires “blue air” pilots, simulated U.S., coalition and regional partners, to fly against “red air” pilots, who are the simulated adversary. Having more jets up in the air at the same time enhances difficulty by allowing for more simulated adversaries, as well as requires more complex mission planning and multiple formations working together.

“We are enhancing the quality of our training and aligning it in accordance with our defense doctrine and commander in chief's intent,” said Capt. Parker Herrington, 79th FS pilot. “Our adversaries' proficiency and operations are advancing and therefore ours must too.”

Creating more realistic training scenarios that pilots may see in a great power competition, Super Fronts also allow for the creation of a large force exercise. Generally requiring multiple partners and wings, large force exercises are an important training opportunity to validate a team’s ability to integrate, test their capabilities and maximize their performance.

“To compete, deter and win, we have to rethink how we can use our daily activities to train for the future,” said Guldin “This idea, and now reality, provides significant training and directly gets after how Airmen are empowered to innovate and make quality changes at all levels.”