Service Wants New CAS Squadron at Nellis

The Air Force is restructuring the 57th Operations Group at Nellis AFB, Nev., to enhance its focus on close air support integration. The service would like the 57th OG to include a tactical air support squadron made up of eight F-16s that would be relocated from Hill AFB, Utah, but officials said that number could be expanded to 16 once the squadron reaches full operational capability, according to a release. The squadron would provide support to the Joint Terminal Attack Controller Qualification Course, USAF Weapons School, and Green and Red Flag exercises. A final decision on the stand up of the squadron won’t be made until an environmental impact analyses is completed. The changes at Nellis “are an important step in refining our CAS skills through future generations of airmen so we can continue to provide ground forces with all the advantages airpower brings to close combat,” Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle said, according to the release. The 57th Wing, which already conducts the JTAC weapon’s instructor course, Air Liaison Officer qualifying course, and Green Flag, will conduct all graduate-level CAS training upon reaching full operational capability. (See also: The Nellis CAS Plan.)