Live Fire at Iron Strike

Air Force tactical air assets are participating in a large joint service live fire, close air support exercise hosted by the Army’s 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas. A-10s from the 74th Fighter Squadron at Moody AFB, Ga., are flying close air support missions, supported by joint terminal attack controllers from the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, who are also guiding assets such as the U-28A, MQ-1B Predator, MQ-9 Reaper, and F-16s during Exercise Iron Strike, which runs through Dec. 13. The purpose of the exercise is to train and certify US Army gun crews in joint fire integration activities with CAS and artillery support working in concert, said USAF Capt. Kyle Spain, the 7th ASOS executive officer and lead Air Force planner for Iron Strike. The exercise has a lot of players and moving parts and is meant to integrate the Army’s “scheme of maneuver via their armor on the ground” with assets such as AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and USAF CAS assets, said Maj. Dan Edgar, the 74th FS assistant director of operations. That’s a training opportunity that has not been available to Moody’s A-10 pilots previously, he added. A-10 pilots and others, as a result, have to train to fly above, next to, or in between friendly fires, Edgar noted.