Combat Shield ensures EW readiness in the U.S. Indo-Pacific

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ericka A. Woolever
  • 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing
Members from the 87th Electronic Warfare Squadron Combat Shield recently completed their annual Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) airframe-specific electronic warfare (EW) readiness assessment tour.
“Combat Shield is the lead EW assessment team for the U.S. Air Force,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Turner, 87th Electronic Warfare Squadron senior enlisted leader. “We concentrate on assessing the defensive systems of survivability and operability to sustain EW combat readiness for combat air forces (CAF) aircraft.”
Combat Shield spent approximately three weeks traveling the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, assessing the EW defensive systems of their F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10C Thunderbolts II.

During their annual PACAF tour, the team provided the most effective EW systems and capabilities that the U.S. Air Force has to offer, explained Turner.
“We are dedicated to the EW combat readiness of all air frames across the Indo-Pacific and across the U.S. Air Force,” he said.
Their assessments focused on the operability and survivability of detection, warning, and countermeasures against Electromagnetic Spectrum threats. During their assessments they used specialized equipment such as AN/USM-642A and High-speed Anti-radiation Missile Targeting Systems tester.
Once the assessments were completed Combat Shield provided the results to the home-station senior leadership.
“We give senior leadership an independent assessment of their overall EW fleet health while also providing onsite commanders both analysis, feedback and recommendation on how they can improve their operations and maintenance processes,” said Turner.
Not only does senior leadership get information regarding their EW assessments, but home-station avionic technicians also work with members from Combat Shield during the assessments.
“Maintainers are charged here with keeping their EW systems ready,” said Turner. “The data and analysis that [Combat Shield] provides, helps them keep their systems operable and gives them feedback on how they can improve their process.”
Conducting assessments of PACAF fleet’s EW readiness is critical for the deterrence of adversaries and assurance of our allies in the region ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“Over the last year [Combat Shield] has [assessed] 55 wings,” said Turner. “We assess their aircraft both at home-station and at [Red Flag] and WESUP exercises. We are also plugged into the AFFORGEN models “prepare” and “ready” phases to get units ready to deploy.”

The dependability between air assets and the EMS are inseparable and the survivability of Airmen depend on the Air Force achieving and maintaining EMS superiority.
“The various systems we test increase the survivability of the pilots and the aircraft, said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. David Crowey, 87th EWS Combat Shield Avionics Electronic Warfare technician. “We are the profession of arms and everything that Combat Shield stands for is to ensure our warfighters make it back home.”