SJ emphasizes CSAR in Razor Talon
By 1st Lt. Shelby Chapman, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 18, 2019
SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- The 4th Fighter Wing hosted a joint service exercise known as Razor Talon, Oct. 11, 2019.
The monthly exercise acts as a pivotal training mechanism for new aircrew members to practice interoperability from their home station. It also provides integral mission commander upgrade training, as well as a low-cost, large force training opportunity for Joint East Coast tactical and support aviation units.
During this month’s iteration, F-15E Strike Eagle aircrew held mission commander and team lead positions during the vital air-to-ground and air-to-air tactics and procedures with other 4th and 5th generation aircraft. This included countering surface-to-air threats, and identifying and extinguishing dynamic targets by working with airborne early warning and control systems, and joint surveillance target attack radar systems.
Additionally, this month’s Razor Talon highlighted a combat search and rescue (CSAR) with assistance from the United States Coast Guard (USCG). The Strike Eagle team lead was in charge of executing an airborne combat search for the downed aircrew, and then for notifying USCG assets of their location for rescue.
During this portion of the exercise, the USCG was able to practice tactical life-saving support operations in an open-water scenario when two Airmen from the 4th FW simulated surviving an aircraft crash off the North Carolina coast. These Airmen were also able to simultaneously meet their water survival training requirements.
“At first we received three different locations, which was a great realistic component in the exercise,” said USCG Lieutenant Commander Jason Condon. “If the CSAR was needed in a real-world scenario, the actual location is often different from the location initially reported due to accuracy limitations, such as environmental conditions like water current.”
LCDR Condon piloted the helicopter that supported the exercise. He relayed that every CSAR case for the Coast Guard is different, similar to how every combat scenario for the Air Force is different, and that opportunities like this are very important for training.
There were 21 aircraft used in support of this Razor Talon. Eight F-15Es were from Seymour Johnson AFB, four F-22 Raptors were from Joint-Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, eight F-16 Fighting Falcons were from Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, and one HH-60 Pave Hawk from Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
“The main objective for this month’s Razor Talon was to simulate realistic combat scenarios with near peer adversaries and enhanced joint readiness,” said the Razor Talon mission commander.
The mission commander also stressed that the type of training Razor Talon provides is critical to the success of future real-world operations.
“Being able to perform dynamic short-notice targeting of high value assets and integrating CSAR ops allows us to increase overall proficiency.”
Razor Talon can accommodate all branches of the Armed Forces, which proved necessary for the simulated combat search and rescue operation conducted with the USCG.
“Usually we work with Army or Marine partners from our neighboring bases here in North Carolina,” said the F-15E team lead. “It has been a beneficial and unique experience working with the Coast Guard in this month’s exercise, and we hope to see them involved more in the future.”
LCDR Condon shared, “The DoD provides great training for our forces, but joint training opportunities like this one are very important because it allows us to learn how other services operate under similar conditions, and in turn allow us to provide better support for each other.”