Advancing CAS at Nellis

Though the A-10’s future is still in limbo, pilots at the Air Force Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nev., are pushing the envelope on ways to perform close air support in challenged and unchallenged environments, Lt. Col. Scott Mills, commander of the 66th Weapons Squadron, told Air Force Magazine. Mills, a veteran A-10 pilot, said regardless of the platform, it is vital for pilots to get in the mindset of the ground commander and understand how critical time is from the moment a pilot learns troops are in contact to when the pilot can act on threats. Integration, connectivity, and better situational awareness also is critical to better CAS, he noted. As they work to improve CAS, fliers in the 66th WPS will take every chance they get to collaborate with MQ-9 Reapers flying with the 26th WPS, which runs remotely piloted aircraft tactics, said Mills. Even though Reapers don’t get to fly as much CAS training as other mission areas, due to the demands of course priorities, they are “incredibly capable” when working with other assets, he said.