307th Bomb Wing leverages new electronic attack transmitter for a $6 million a year savings
By Master Sgt. Greg Steele, 93rd Bomb Squadron
/ Published November 05, 2013
Barksdale Air Force Base, La. --
A Joint Threat Emitter (JTE) is about to go live this month at Claiborne Bombing and Gunnery Range, saving the 307th Bomb Wing approximately $6.6 million a year in fuel costs.
The 307th BW currently maintains 20 B-52H Stratofortress aircraft at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
In a time when the cost of doing business is extremely important, a new, less costly system for B-52 training is gearing up to launch in Louisiana. The system trains Electronic Warfare Officers (EWO) to protect their crews and aircraft during the threat of a missile attack.
The JTE is a new state of the art electronic transmitter that replicates signals that EWOs detect and jam inflight. The signals simulate those of surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery. This new training aid allows simulated enemy threats to be countered and crews to put bombs on target.
"Practicing electronic jamming is essential to protection during wartime," said Lt. Col. Robert Vanhoy, 93rd Bomb Squadron director of operation. "If we can jam the enemy's signals, we can prevent them from taking down our aircraft." The B-52 previously received this type of training by flying to locations in west Texas, central Kansas and Idaho.
Not only does the JTE help B-52s, but it works against all Air Force aircraft that have radar warning receiver capabilities. To name a few, this includes the C-130 Hercules, B-2 Spirit, B-1 Lancer, F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-22 Raptor.
Other Barksdale units, to include Barksdale's 2nd Bomb Wing and Green Flag East, will also benefit from the fuel savings on the Claiborne Range, which is a 15 minute flight and located just outside Alexandria, La.
In 2010, the Air Force Audit Agency performed a review of ranges in the United States to see if they were being utilized in the most cost efficient way. This led the way for the JTE system to be considered for the Louisiana range.
"This system was one the Reserve B-52 unit has been trying to put in place since the early 90s," said Lt. Col. Dave Webb, 307th Operations Flight commander. "There just wasn't the money to make it happen." This particular project has been ongoing for around three years. So far, the Air Force Reserve Command has spent approximately $350,000 on the infrastructure.
"The cost that the Reserve Command has laid out for the system will be saved in days after the JTE is up and running," said Col. Jonathan Ellis, 307th Bomb Wing commander. "We will not only save the government a great deal of money, but we will be able to significantly increase the training our students are receiving and thus better prepare them for future threats." The 307th is the only B-52 Formal Training Unit in the Air Force. After taking over the training curriculum for all B-52 crew members in 2009, they have already been able to reduce flying hours, saving taxpayer's money.
"Having training locations right in your backyard offers the cost savings we are all looking for," said Mr Richard Harris, Combat Air Force Training System Program Manager.