SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
The 480th Aircraft Maintenance Unit hosted members of the 36th Electronic Warfare Squadron and 16th EWS from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, during Combat Shield, April 2-6.
Combat Shield is an annual program aimed to provide operational combat Air Force units a system-specific capability assessment for their aircraft's radar warning receivers, electronic attack pods and integrated EW systems.
“The goal of Combat Shield is to provide the 52nd Fighter Wing with on-site assessment and analysis of RWR, jamming, and EW support systems associated with the F-16,” Master Sgt. Brian Abel, 52nd Maintenance Group wing avionics manager, said.
Abel explained the risks facing aircrews may drastically change in the near future, and the airframes must be prepared.
To make sure the 52nd FW aircraft are mission-ready, regardless of the type of threat, the Combat Shield maintenance team tested the F-16 Fighting Falcon Radar Warning Receiver System, the aircraft's primary threat detection system, by assessing its sensitivity and ability to detect incoming threats.
“The 52nd MXG excelled in all areas of the Combat Shield assessment,” said Abel. “Our aircraft capabilities were assessed and yielded an overall EW readiness rate of 84% percent which bested last year's CAF average by eight percent.”
Using a USM-642 “Raven” signal generator, members of Combat Shield can quickly and accurately evaluate the effectiveness of the threat-detection system.
“Our assessments provide wing leadership a quick operational simulation of the health of the unit’s EW equipment, in case the unit had to deploy the next day,” said Maj. Kevin Beaulieu, 16th EWS Combat Shield mission director.
At the end of the testing, the program evaluators determined the Airmen assigned to the 480th AMXS have worked hard over the last year.
“The assessment went very well for the unit this year,” said Beaulieu. “The amount of preparation and how quickly the 52nd MXG can accomplish the mission really stood out to my team.”