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Mobility Guardian 2021


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Anyone here have the pleasure of participating?  IMHO it was more of a waste of time than the last one.  I know AMC has an identity crisis - I'm sure we all know that.  One can only hit the "I believe" button so many times...

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Anyone here have the pleasure of participating?  IMHO it was more of a waste of time than the last one.  I know AMC has an identity crisis - I'm sure we all know that.  One can only hit the "I believe" button so many times...

I’ll never forget on the one I participated in, hearing the patch mission lead repeatedly calling for the “picture” and getting a response: “clean”…. This happened probably 5 times with the ridiculous, long ass train of lumbering moose in tow. Well, what he meant to ask for, was “lowdown” (mind you, major fowl for asking for the lowdown that many times and clogging up the damn radios). Well, as you would guess, the entire formation of tactical magical moose gets dragged through the, not surprising, standard threat they train to lean against during their IR low level local training, the SA-6. Won’t even go into the make believe and wand waving that would go on, and high fives from the guys who argue tactics in that community, had they “survived”.

I bet the DFP was “why didn’t the loadmaster plot, on his paper bullseye chart,the picture fast enough to ‘defeat’ the 6?”


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2 hours ago, Loach said:

Anyone here have the pleasure of participating?  IMHO it was more of a waste of time than the last one.  I know AMC has an identity crisis - I'm sure we all know that.  One can only hit the "I believe" button so many times...

I had the “pleasure” of working in the MPC for the inaugural one in TCM, the one where the only VUL with actual blue air escort / SEAD planned, the MAF planners told them the wrong takeoff time so there was no CAF blue air.  This was after the A3 (now the sitting AMC/CV) rightfully chastised all the 130 and 17 flight leads for flying through multiple briefed threats for the “JFE”. Then I heard datalink was a complete disaster in 2019.  Similar shenanigans this year?

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Yes... this circus act is what lead to tankers having to add MB52Y to our list of training events when we already had MB50 (or the old M050 for those that knew that). I remember being at the RTRB years ago when they talked about MG and how multiple aircraft got "shot down" by SAM's thus driving the need for MB52Y. I raised my hands and asked if any tankers were shot down during the exercise and got the deer in the head lights look like, "We have tankers in AMC?".

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Well, as you would guess, the entire formation of tactical magical moose gets dragged through the, not surprising, standard threat they train to lean against during their IR low level local training, the SA-6. Won’t even go into the make believe and wand waving that would go on, and high fives from the guys who argue tactics in that community, had they “survived”.


Does putting your wingman between you and the threat so they soak up the threat count as a tactic?

Hopefully it's gotten better since I left the community, but last LFE I did (planned 40 ship), we couldn't even get admin right. Stupid stuff like aircraft lighting, both en route and after fence in. And the planners screwed all the personnel airdrop jets on gas and recovery plan, planning us at the appropriate weight across the DZ, but not enough gas to get to the planned recovery bases. So some jets (like mine) said screw being the correct weight over the DZ, we're a dry pass so we'll carry the extra gas to get home. Others took the planned amount, and ended up having to fuel divert halfway home. And that doesn't even touch elements holding at the wrong points at the wrong altitude (at night while interplane freq was being jammed, and who plans heavy aircraft formations to fly holding patterns with 45 AOB?).
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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, magnetfreezer said:

"Hyper-realistic" is probably going on their OPR.

In all seriousness though, unless you're using secures, preventing people from poaching your comms during training and then writing a story about it is almost impossible.

The same stuff could be heard over every RF or WSINT vul, they just use the 9X callsign and "unlucky jet" rather than "midair"...and it's not over Wisconsin.

Edited by Breckey
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9 hours ago, passingtime69 said:

I bet the DFP was “why didn’t the loadmaster plot, on his paper bullseye chart,the picture fast enough to ‘defeat’ the 6?”

CF: The load master had to be woken up from his nap.

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Why wouldn’t tankers and other heavies just practice these things at regular LFEs instead of spending money and time on a mobility LFE? There’s always a dearth of tankers at flag-level exercises, causing days of planning end up down the drain when one or two of them cancel. The standard should be to always a have reliability tanker ready to flex to blue or red.

Related - what if tanker pilots were in the MPC instead of heaping all of it on 1x inexperienced “planner” who’s bound to mess it up?

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For the AMC Bros, do you guys do tactical/threat missions as CT prior to these big missions? Not just the occasional tac approach but no kidding scenarios integrating OCA/SEAD etc (notional or otherwise). 
 

Pretty big lift to somehow nail all the admin and other things if your CT is focused on instrument approach practice. 

The tone I get from this is the classic cynical “we suck but this sucks so this is stupid.” How do we expect to get the enterprise better?

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Why wouldn’t tankers and other heavies just practice these things at regular LFEs instead of spending money and time on a mobility LFE? There’s always a dearth of tankers at flag-level exercises, causing days of planning end up down the drain when one or two of them cancel. The standard should be to always a have reliability tanker ready to flex to blue or red.
Related - what if tanker pilots were in the MPC instead of heaping all of it on 1x inexperienced “planner” who’s bound to mess it up?


From a KC-10 perspective:

Because simply being admin gas sucks and is mostly a waste of our time.

Because TACC doesn’t have the tail availability to do a flag and other TRANSCOM-validated things.

Because CENTCOM has too many of our jets.

Because we don’t have a weapons school to speak the same language and properly integrate into a planning team.

Because we don’t have anything to be on the net (yet).

Are they all excuses? Yes. But every time I’ve been involved in a flag, my job has been to sit fat, dumb, and happy in an anchor that is either off the range or outside the engagement area. It’s a self-licking ice cream cone…we don’t get valuable training (except boom fighter contacts) so we don’t value it so we stay admin gas because we don’t have the ability/care to integrate.
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From a KC-10 perspective:

Because simply being admin gas sucks and is mostly a waste of our time.

Because TACC doesn’t have the tail availability to do a flag and other TRANSCOM-validated things.

Because CENTCOM has too many of our jets.

Because we don’t have a weapons school to speak the same language and properly integrate into a planning team.

Because we don’t have anything to be on the net (yet).

Are they all excuses? Yes. But every time I’ve been involved in a flag, my job has been to sit fat, dumb, and happy in an anchor that is either off the range or outside the engagement area. It’s a self-licking ice cream cone…we don’t get valuable training (except boom fighter contacts) so we don’t value it so we stay admin gas because we don’t have the ability/care to integrate.


Pretty much this.... and although the -135 community does have a weapons school, the rest of the afformentioned reasons still apply.
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I ran an MPC during this shitshow. I want to do a full career in the Air Force but every single day the Air Force tries to convince me otherwise. This exercise slammed that sentiment into MTO.

The patches that ran this completely destroyed any inkling or slight desire to be a patch myself. What a mess.


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For the AMC Bros, do you guys do tactical/threat missions as CT prior to these big missions? Not just the occasional tac approach but no kidding scenarios integrating OCA/SEAD etc (notional or otherwise). 
 
Pretty big lift to somehow nail all the admin and other things if your CT is focused on instrument approach practice. 
The tone I get from this is the classic cynical “we suck but this sucks so this is stupid.” How do we expect to get the enterprise better?


C-17, but my info is a bit dated...

You could maybe get the sim to practice ahead of a major exercise, but probably won't get a dedicated local trainers to prep on. You could piggyback on an existing local, but you probably won't have the same crew that's scheduled for the exercise.

Local trainers usually have maybe one threat react, and plot/avoid a couple threats (radar or IR) on the low level portion of the sortie, and generally only if the pilot is doing fine on time control already.

Not sure if this has gotten better, but usually you're cycling people through the seats, so you may only get 10-15 min per pilot (3 legs or so) on the low level each just to keep them current.

For a formation airdrop sortie, you'll get one pass at usually a short low level to do a tactical scenario (so one lead gets to work through the problem solving), then you end up spending hours on checking currency boxes for the different types of airdrops and lead/wing requirements. Usually on a local IFR route, so you generally don't get the opportunity to do more tactical training.

Generally not a lot of instrument approaches unless the weather calls for it, or more than one pilot needs it for currency, or you need to kill some time in the pattern before heading to the next training event.

Typical local sortie would look like:
0+30 to 0+45 to the tanker
1+00 to 1+30 behind the tanker
0+30 to low level entry
0+30 on the low level
1+00 to 1+30 on pattern work (or replace with airdrop DZ passes)
0+30 RTB
0+15 ground ops (backing/rev taxi, combat offloads)

A typical traffic pattern was notional about 8-10 min, so you'd have time for about 6-9 landings total. 15ish minutes for a full stop taxi back off an assault landing (typically to the 3500' assault strip), or to reset for a tactical approach to landing. Assault landings are a currency item of ACs to do in the jet, so you'll typically need to do a couple on the sortie.

Depending on who needs what, you might get 15 min behind the tanker, maybe 15 min on the low level to do tactical training (and assuming the other pilot isn't struggling at low level basics like time control and chart reading), and 2-3 landings on a sortie, so not a lot of training time. Usually only get a few locals per semi, ready of the time is out on the road flying missions.

People want to get better, but the training time in the jet isn't there, and for whatever reason, people don't take advantage of doing what they can in the sim in the sim (like plotting that's and adjusting flight paths or threat reacting while flying to a TOT), so that the time you do get in the jet can be used to refine the skills rather than learn the basics of the skills.
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4 hours ago, Danger41 said:

For the AMC Bros, do you guys do tactical/threat missions as CT prior to these big missions? Not just the occasional tac approach but no kidding scenarios integrating OCA/SEAD etc (notional or otherwise). 
 

Pretty big lift to somehow nail all the admin and other things if your CT is focused on instrument approach practice. 

The tone I get from this is the classic cynical “we suck but this sucks so this is stupid.” How do we expect to get the enterprise better?

Valid question, for 130s absolutely. Not saying you need to be a patch to foster valid training but generally a couple motivated WOs who seek out the training, users, range times etc can really make a difference.   The problem, and my beef is with AMC as a whole.  AMC preaches agile combat employment and full spectrum readiness yet still maintains their risk averse construct.  ACE will never be successful if the AMC 0-6s / GOs (AOC airlift directors) don’t delegate that authority.  I can make my copilots as ready as possible for LFE type scenarios or ACE, but I can’t tell the 0-6 to delegate his approval to someone lower. Also, doesn’t help when we have toxic senior IPs who scoff the WIC, or anything more challenging that a 1-1-1. 

Separate but related, actually fund datalink upgrades.  The J model (not 8.1) is operating on 90s technology and doesn’t work half the time, in training.  No way it works when we need it. 
 

Finally, 130s generally do red flag / WSINT and we get a lot out of them..but MG was a solution to an airlift specific LFE where the DLOs are specific to MAF. 
 

 

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40 minutes ago, FUSEPLUG said:

Is Mobility Guardian the thing that replaced AMC's Rodeo a few years back when everyone finally admitted what a massive waste of taxpayer money that drinkfest was?

Officially it is not the rodeo...  Unofficially, everyone knows what it is including the exercise people at HAF (AMC didn't get any of their exercise money, so you know what they must think of it).  it's an AMC/MAF lovefest... AMC can drop bombs, AMC can plan CAF sorties, AMC can do PR, AMC can do comms, AMC can do AOC's, AMC can do it all!  As a matter of fact, why do we need other MAJCOMS?  AMC/CC said KC-46's will be carrying air to air weapons in the future and 17's will be able to drop munitions instead of delivering to a forward airbase, so why the need for B-21?.    All we need is AMC apparently.  

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AMC preaches agile combat employment and full spectrum readiness yet still maintains their risk averse construct.  ACE will never be successful if the AMC 0-6s / GOs (AOC airlift directors) don’t delegate that authority.
 
 

^^THIS^^
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14 hours ago, Danger41 said:

For the AMC Bros, do you guys do tactical/threat missions as CT prior to these big missions? Not just the occasional tac approach but no kidding scenarios integrating OCA/SEAD etc (notional or otherwise). 

Not at the level you’d consider proficient. Quite a stretch saying MAF only does instrument approaches, but the past twenty years we have focused on different skillsets… none of which is at the level of a near-peer integrated effort. 

While some exercises exist, when coupled with the current ops tempo, only a small percentage of the Squadrons get exposure.

CT will never replace integrated training and the opportunities are too small to make a dent. 

Your lifestyle is tactical integration… it will never be in the MAF until the ops tempo slows down, training opportunities exist, and we have reliable tactical hardware (with support). 

Even if folks want to work with the CAF, an OST currently requires a Wg/CC-approved CONOP, full itin, and DLOs (plus all the wickets to get there) and we wonder why why folks aren’t inclined to put in the effort?

How do we make the enterprise better?  Integrate in small volumes that doesn’t require 6-9 weeks to plan, because the DV visit isn’t going to plan itself. 

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Posted (edited)

Been outside the community for a few years, but there’s some of this that perks my ears up.

The MAF has had an identity crisis for a while - FedEx in flightsuits vs the folks who want to push the envelope and do more. MobGar is a classic example, as is this thread… it’s worse in certain communities (cough cough C-17…)

The feedback I received thru the grapevine matches that here - there’s a lot of airline apps being filled out by folks who didn’t study, take it seriously, or maybe were just asked to punch the “I believe” button more than they’re used to - there was participation, but not as much learning by the crews as was desired. But then again you can’t show and go to an LFE…

I’m also not shocked that ANY LFE is a shitshow - as this one was described. Everytime I went to Pope or a Flag it was a dogs breakfast mess, but we got better because it was a shitshow. So is war. The first few months in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria prove that. That’s why we do the training. It’s not gonna NOT be a shitshow until we get the reps and raise the bar.

AMC, the wings, and the crews need to realize you can’t do things like this once a year and expect proficiency. That’s counterintuitive, and underestimates the complexity - which is also what I expect from crews and leadership that havent grown up doing these things…

Find the guys who are pushing the team to get better and follow them. They don’t have to be Patches, but the Patches better know that they’re the ones expected to un-F the world when things DO become a shitshow…

Chuck

Edited by Chuck17
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ACE concept has bigger problems than mobility O-6s not delegating authority, especially if it's for more than a one-off resupply.

Airlift capacity, logistic footprints to sustain not only the fighters but the airlift needed to sustain the fighters- we just plain run out of airlift. Also don't forget that other stuff from other services will be moving at the same time to support their part of the operation, so movement priority becomes critical.

And none of this matters if the airlift gets killed like they do in mobility guardian

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1 hour ago, Chuck17 said:

Been outside the community for a few years, but there’s some of this that perks my ears up.

The MAF has had an identity crisis for a while - FedEx in flightsuits vs the folks who want to push the envelope and do more. MobGar is a classic example, as is this thread… it’s worse in certain communities (cough cough C-17…)

The feedback I received thru the grapevine matches that here - there’s a lot of airline apps being filled out by folks who didn’t study, take it seriously, or maybe were just asked to punch the “I believe” button more than they’re used to - there was participation, but not as much learning by the crews as was desired. But then again you can’t show and go to an LFE…

I’m also not shocked that ANY LFE is a shitshow - as this one was described. Everytime I went to Pope or a Flag it was a dogs breakfast mess, but we got better because it was a shitshow. So is war. The first few months in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria prove that. That’s why we do the training. It’s not gonna NOT be a shitshow until we get the reps and raise the bar.

AMC, the wings, and the crews need to realize you can’t do things like this once a year and expect proficiency. That’s counterintuitive, and underestimates the complexity - which is also what I expect from crews and leadership that havent grown up doing these things…

Find the guys who are pushing the team to get better and follow them. They don’t have to be Patches, but the Patches better know that they’re the ones expected to un-F the world when things DO become a shitshow…

Chuck

Agree that LFE's tend to be a shit show, unlike most exercises where there's no iron, so no need to be as concerned with planning or executing since there's no risk.  One thing I've seen is that a lot of what AMC does at MG's falls outside the mobility spectrum -- almost as though AMC is trying to show their leaders off for future AOC Directors/JFACC's...  Why not focus on the mobility/tanker mission and push the envelope there?  Why not push for that in FLAG exercises more?  Not sure why AMC needs to plan a PR mission when AMC doesn't even have the assets for the recovery, and certainly not the experience.  Sure, it might be good training, but we've got organizations that do that already -- and if you've got the time to train in areas outside your area of expertise, does that mean there's nothing left to improve in your own field?  Or are you so overfunded and underutilized that you need to find other things to do to keep yourself busy?  Maybe we really didn't need 222 C-17's after all?

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Agree that LFE's tend to be a shit show, unlike most exercises where there's no iron, so no need to be as concerned with planning or executing since there's no risk.  One thing I've seen is that a lot of what AMC does at MG's falls outside the mobility spectrum -- almost as though AMC is trying to show their leaders off for future AOC Directors/JFACC's...  Why not focus on the mobility/tanker mission and push the envelope there?  Why not push for that in FLAG exercises more?  Not sure why AMC needs to plan a PR mission when AMC doesn't even have the assets for the recovery, and certainly not the experience.  Sure, it might be good training, but we've got organizations that do that already -- and if you've got the time to train in areas outside your area of expertise, does that mean there's nothing left to improve in your own field?  Or are you so overfunded and underutilized that you need to find other things to do to keep yourself busy?  Maybe we really didn't need 222 C-17's after all?


I mean, there's already more demand for C-17s than what we have, even write augmentation from contact airlift. Especially as the Army's equipment gets larger, requiring outsize lift capacity.

Things like ACE only increase that demand (is a C-130 really going to be able to load up with whatever the fighters need at a safe distance from a TBM threat and fly to that forward location in a useful timeframe, as well as have to fuel reservers to make it back to the safe location and alternate if required?).

The vast majority of the mobility mission is operating in permissive environments, and that makes for a boring exercise (where the capability being exercised is flow control and aerial port capacity). And boring doesn't get you funding for exercises, or relief from operational taskings to make time for exercises.

So you're left with 3 tactical missions to exercise for conventional mobility: airfield seizure, airdrop resupply, or retrograde/exfil. Going to a flag usually means playing to someone else's objectives, and chances are the mobility objectives are going to be an afterthought in the larger air war in the exercise.

And the bigger problem is that the majority of airlift pilots (primarily strategic airlift pilots i.e. C-17/C-5) will never get to go to a flag exercise to gain that experience, much less get repetitions in a training range against simulated threats. And we don't have the knowledge base/experience to replicate that at home station on locals, especially when there's pressure to just meet min currency requirements to fly real world missions in permissive environments needed now.

I'm not saying it's not worth mobility doing exercises and improving tactical proficiency, but it feels like we are trying to sprint before we crawl.
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