US and Canadian joint terminal attack controllers practiced directing air strikes side-by-side at the Powder River Training Complex near Ellsworth AFB, S.D. JTACs of Ellsworth’s 37th Bomb Squadron are due to deploy to Afghanistan in January. They invited five of their counterparts from the 1st Royal Canadian Horse Artillery to replicate the sort of joint environment they are likely to face in Afghanistan. B-1 bombers flew 20 training missions over a four-day period at the end of October, relaying video from their Sniper targeting pods to the JTACs, who directed targeting from the ground. “We get some of the best training when we work with the Canadian JTACs.” said Capt. Robb Fiechtner, a B-1 co-pilot with the 37th BS. He added, “The level of realism the JTACs brought to the scenarios is exactly what we need to excel downrange.” (Ellsworth report by A1C Jarad A. Denton)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.