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SCEWR exercise back for second time in 2023

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mariana Tafur
  • 20th Fighter Wing

Throughout the hours of darkness, 20th Fighter Squadron pilots and maintainers gear up, preparing to conduct their combat simulation training on Dec. 11, 2023 with the initiative to serve their country.

For the second time in 2023, the 55th, 77th, and 79th FS and Fighter Generation Squadrons primed to take off in an innovative exercise, called the South Carolina Electronic Warfare Range, which was newly developed that year.

SCEWR is an exercise aimed at replicating a more realistic combat scenario to better strengthen the capabilities of the wing’s pilots, maintainers and aircraft, by combining several local airspaces and surface-to-air radio transmitters to allow pilots to train in a more expanded training system.

Behind the innovative idea for the SCEWR concept is U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Joshua Moffat, 20th Operations Support Squadron commander, who met with the Federal Aviation Administration, Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Navy partners from Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida, the South Carolina Air National Guard, and other partners that utilize the air space to proceed the training exercise.

“With the help of our strategic partnerships, we were able to make this exercise possible,” said Moffat. “SCEWR provides our pilots and maintainers with a training environment which is not available for day to day training, primarily facing more realistic scenarios with the ability to practice tactics closer to the way they would be employed downrange.”

Utilizing collective data from the first SCEWR exercise held on March 6, 2023, Moffat gathered with 20th FW leadership, the local Radar Approach Control team, and the FAA to strategically implement improvements to the next iteration of the exercise such as: expanded airspace and altitude, multiple threat emitter systems moved to the coast, and the addition of Poinsett Electronic Combat Range to the tactical airspace for weapons employment.

Because the FAA is busy directing commercial aircraft throughout the day, the 20th FW was granted access to the airspace for SCEWR in low-traffic times throughout the nights of Dec. 11-15, 2023.

“The capabilities of our pacing threat have changed; now we train against modern 4th and 5th generation missiles and fighters,” said Lt. Col. Nathaniel Halley, 77th FS instructor and evaluator pilot. “The purpose of training during SCEWR is to give us an opportunity to train against a more advanced threat in our local airspace while giving our young flight leads and instructors the opportunity to develop the skills they need to plan effectively and train in a complicated environment.”

Although SCEWR training is a new and evolving occurrence, it has fostered greater connections amongst the units who train together, forming camaraderie and multi-level readiness to undergo any mission as one unit.

“Getting that collective brain power and man power of three squadrons together and utilizing this power showcases the full potential of Shaw’s combat air power and what the F-16 is capable of,” said Capt. Will Mueser, 77th FS pilot. “It’s interesting because when we put our minds together to solve a complex tactical scenario, it led to a lot of shared experience and lessons.”

For future goals, Moffat states that he will be cohesively working with the FAA, joint partners, total force partners, and environmental agencies with the local community to develop an airspace that works efficiently at high speed while also respecting the community.