Airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing participated in a Forward Arming and Refueling Point exercise alongside the 352nd Special Operations Wing and 100th Air Refueling Wing at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, Sept. 12.
FARP is a part of the U.S. Air Force’s dynamic force employment capability, which consists of refueling and re-arming operations in situations where the use of conventional fueling stations or air-to-air refueling is unavailable, and to build upon the relationships and integration of missions among different forces.
“The idea is to resupply an aircraft with ammunition, get it back airborne and in the fight,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jason Smith, 48th Munitions Squadron weapons standardization section chief.
The exercise is separated into phases as the logistic responsibilities of the requesting unit.
According to Smith, this is the first time RAF Lakenheath conducted an F-15E Strike Eagle re-arming FARP utilizing the MC-130J Commando II and two F-15E Strike Eagles.
“The event consisted of a crew executing equipment preparations and form-fitting functions keeping weight allowances and proper use of space in mind,” Smith said. “The Airmen also got to execute unloading the [MC-130J] aircraft at the FARP point and bomb-building on-site to re-arm the Strike Eagles.”
The objective is to minimize response time and decrease turnaround to support sustained operations.
“This is the perfect opportunity for our Airmen to get a feel for what it’s like to work together with units that bring different skillsets to the table,” Smith said. “It’s easy to get into the groove when you’re working with the same people daily. This event gives us a controlled environment to test the critical thinking and problem-solving skills of our Airmen as they anticipate and troubleshoot any potential obstacles.”
Training like this ensures that the MC-130J platform provides precise, reliable, flexible and responsive specialized air mobility. Additionally, the F-15E Strike Eagle provides a variety of combat avionic capabilities to the table including low-level flying in any weather, day or night, in support of United States Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces in Africa operations.
“It opens up our frame of reference in gaining experience with what a FARP looks like in reality,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruba Ang, 48th MUNS weapons standardization section load crew chief. “Seeing the operation and executing it gives us the ability to troubleshoot any potential obstacles and build on the procedure to enhance it further.”