Australian, New Zealand JTACs train at Moody

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Courtney Sebastianelli
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

Members of the Royal Australian Air Force, Australian Army and New Zealand Army recently spent time training here at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.

In order to effectively build communication and strengthen mission success, both ally nations sent Joint Terminal Attack Controller teams to train with the A-10 pilots from the 75th Fighter Squadron for two weeks.

“It’s great to work with coalition JTACs because communication is key,” said Lt. Col. Edward Brady, 75th FS commander. “Subtle differences, such as slang words, may not be a big deal in casual conversation, but on the ground, it can be a major problem when communicating on radios and in stressful situations. Training allows us to learn to mitigate those issues.”

Over the course of two weeks, the JTAC teams trained in multiple missions focused on proper communication using mapping software and radio systems. Each mission prompted different scenarios that required precise coordinates for close air support. Additionally, conducting briefs before and after each mission enhanced the communication between the 75th FS pilots and the JTAC teams.

While both New Zealand and Australia’s armed forces have skilled JTACs, communication barriers still have to be navigated. Brady went on to explain the importance of understanding the differences between aerial and ground perspectives.

“As an attack platform, it is invaluable to train with actual ground parties,” Brady said. “The perspective between what the pilot sees from 15,000 feet high and what a JTAC sees from the ground is vastly different. It’s very difficult to train to the unique skills required in close air support without having those JTACs here.”

JTACs advise, assist and direct the action of combat aircraft from a forward position on the ground. Using radio communication, JTACs also help coordinate offensive air operations. So keeping cohesive communication between pilots and the JTAC community is essential to mission success.

“I think just getting that cohesion with all of our partner nations is the most important,” said Capt. Austin Weil, 75th FS, C Flight assistant flight commander. “Getting relationships tight now, in a time of relative peace, is critical. So that if we do have to go fight, we've already got that relationship built in order to have a more effective presence on the battlespace.”