Sunday, May 16, 2021

U.S. Air Force uses Russian-made air defense systems as simulated foreign targets

The U.S. Air Force has publicly released new photos showed Russian-made surface-to-air missile systems used during Emerald Flag, Eglin’s first native multi-domain test exercise.

Photos posted last week appear to show a 2K12 “Kub” (NATO reporting name: SA-6 “Gainful”) mobile surface-to-air missile systems that used to serve as adversary targets for a joint service exercise, Emerald Flag, at Eglin Air Force Base.

U.S. contractors with Russian-made combat vehicles, include T-72 main battle tanks and SA-6 Gainful air defense systems, simulated foreign threats and targets for U.S. fighter jets and missiles systems.

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This inaugural event brought more than 25 agencies to participate. It is a collaborative multi-service effort focused on increasing the effectiveness of the joint domain warfighter.

Photo by 2nd Lt. Karissa Rodriguez

“The goal is to align DoD resources across the Florida panhandle and enable multi-domain test and experimentation to prepare the warfighter for a 21st-century fight,” said Maj. Alexander Hillman, 45th Test Squadron.

The event incorporates ground, space, cyberspace and air platforms. The test connects those different platforms to improve the speed and flow of information.

Another large aspect of Emerald Flag is the integration of Eglin’s five Ws: weapons, water, webs, widgets, and warfighters, according to Hillman.

Weapons testing is part of the 96th Test Wing’s primary mission.

Water is a unique Eglin capability that can be utilized in missions on the Eglin Test and Training Range.

Webs is the battlespace of the 96th Cyberspace Test Group in their role in delivering cyberspace capabilities.

Photo by 2nd Lt. Karissa Rodriguez

Widgets refer to development programs from the Air Force Research Lab seeking to exercise or demonstrate their progress in a realistic test environment.

Warfighters is a reference to the 53rd Wing’s operational test presence.

Eglin has the unique capability of integrating across and amongst these five Ws and enabling a development environment for the agencies participating in Emerald Flag, according to Hillman.

This demonstration environment concept originated from within the 96th Test Wing and AFRL’s Munitions Directorate, the Armament Directorate and the 53d Wing were integral in shaping the event.

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Executive Editor

About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
U.S. defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.

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