Airmen from the 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron seized the rare opportunity to train directly with Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopters during a show-of-force deployment to Korea last week. The F-15E crews from RAF Lakenheath, England, located and marked targets for the helicopters over the Jikdo Island training range, near Kunsan AB, Korea, Aug 5. “This will be a new opportunity for me, working close air support with a different unit and different airframe,” said Capt. William Cornelius, a weapon systems officer with the 494th EFS. Once the F-15Es identified the targets with their targeting pods, AH-64s with the Army’s 2nd Aviation Regiment fired AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, unguided rockets, and 30mm cannons against simulated targets off the Korean coast. In addition to providing air control and coordination experience for 494th WSOs, the sorties allowed the Army to “evaluate and determine the 4-2 Attack’s readiness posture,” said Army Capt. Nikolas Folgert. (Kunsan report by MSgt. Sonny Cohrs)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.