USAF, Navy Practice Joint Air Ops over Persian Gulf

Air Forces Central Command and its U.S. Navy counterpart recently teamed up for joint air operations in support of maritime surface warfare (AOMSW) exercise in the Persian Gulf, according to a Naval Forces Central Command release

Exercises like the one held from Sept. 23-24 “serve to enhance and solidify” joint-force capabilities by making sure air and naval forces can integrate quickly and safeguard “the maritime domain,” NAVCENT boss Vice Adm. Samuel Paparo, who also commands U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, said in the release.

The USAF footprint included F-15Es from the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, as well as support from AFCENT’s Combined Air Operations Center, according to the release.

“Joint, full-spectrum operations in defense of the global commons is a complex task,” said 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group Commander Col. Donald Sandberg in the release. “This most recent AOMSW validated the team’s multi-domain integration and agile command and control—two necessary capabilities to defend the region and to support our partners effectively.”

Naval airpower involved in the exercise included F/A-18F Super Hornets, a P-8A Poseidon that was tasked with command and control, and MH-60R Sea Hawk and MH-60S Night Hawk helicopters, according to the release.

Navy and Coast Guard vessels, including the guided missile destroyer USS Winston Churchill, also took part.

“We’ve conducted similar exercises multiple times, but this is by far the largest scale and most complex from a command and control perspective,” said Navy Capt. Christopher Gilbertson, who leads Destroyer Squadron 50 and Task Force 55, in the release. “This allowed our ships, aircraft, and personnel to practice coordinated defensive tactics and maneuver in a constrained environment, at a much higher level of complexity.”