VFCs 12 and 13: adversaries in reserve.Air combat proficiency is an acquired skill, and one that is highly perishable. The ability to succeed in the demanding world of modern aerial combat is proportionate to the effort expended in preparing for it. It's a use-it-or-lose-it scenario. The training needed to prepare new Naval Aviators Well-known aviators
People largely known for their contributions to the history of aviation
While all of these people were pilots (and some still are), many are also noted for contributions in areas such as aircraft design and manufacturing, navigation or for the air combat environment, as well as honing the skills of strike fighter pilots in Navy carrier air wings, is handled largely by a cadre of pilots in two Naval Reserve squadrons. The Fighting Omars of Fighter Squadron Composite (VFC VFC Vaccines for Children (program)
VFC VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) Feature Connector
VFC Voltage to Frequency Converter
VFC Vice Flotilla Commander
VFC Flotilla Vice Commander
VFC V. ) 12 and the Saints of VFC-13 are dedicated training units that are key players in sharpening the tip of the spear of Naval Aviation.
Based at NAS (1) See network access server.
(2) (Network Attached Storage) A specialized file server that connects to the network. A NAS device contains a slimmed-down operating system and a file system and processes only I/O requests by supporting the popular Oceana, Va., the Omars fly 10 F/A-18A and 2 two-seat F/A-18B Hornets, while the Saints operate 20 single-seat F-5E and 3 two-seat F-5F Tiger IIs from their home base at NAS Fallon, Nev. Both squadrons fulfill a two-part mission. The first, to provide air combat training for fleet fighter squadrons, includes advanced training for the air wing strike fighter advanced readiness program (SFARP SFARP Strike Fighter Advanced Readiness program
SFARP So Far As Reasonably Practicable
SFARP San Felipe Association of Retired Persons
SFARP Sino-French Advanced Research Plan ). The second is basic air combat training for fleet readiness squadrons (FRS FRS
Fellow of the Royal Society
n “flexed rotated side-bent,” an osteopathic abbreviation used to describe vertebral position in cases of spinal dysfunction. ) that train new aircrews in the F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet.
VFCs 12 and 13 are part of Carrier Air Wing Reserve 20 under the Naval Reserve Forces Command based in New Orleans, La. The units' respective 26 and 36 pilots comprise a wealth of flying experience within a mix of active duty, full-time and part-time reservists. The discipline required to maximize the teaching aspect during the flights makes experienced reservists a perfect choice for the adversary tactics training role.
Both units were established on 1 September 1973 as composite squadrons and were redesignated VFCs on 22 April 1988. They both flew the A-4 Skyhawk, the agile single-engine jet that was a staple within the Navy's adversary program for many years.
In 1994, the Omars traded their A-4s for the F/A-18 Hornet, a more capable threat replicator See port replicator.
replicator - Any construct that acts to produce copies of itself; this could be a living organism, an idea (see meme), a program (see quine, worm, wabbit, fork bomb, and virus), a pattern in a cellular automaton (see life), or (speculatively) a robot or of the MiG-28 and SU-27 fighters being built by the former Soviet Union. The Saints upgraded to the Hornet hornet: see wasp. from the Skyhawk in 1993, but subsequent force structure alignments required the unit to give back the Hornet. They received the F-5 Tiger II in 1996.
There are four levels of qualification for pilots based on their level of proficiency, experience and certification. A rigorous in-house training program is maintained by both VFC units in order to teach their pilots to be experts in the field of adversary tactics simulation and training. The focus of the unit is not to beat up on fleet Navy pilots during air combat training hops, but to teach them and prepare them for real combat operations. A combination of academic syllabus and proficiency check flights builds adversary pilots' body of knowledge. The building-block approach allows them to control increasingly more complex scenarios. It can take up to a year for a VFC pilot to go from a Level 1 to Level 4 qualification.
The downsizing (1) Converting mainframe and mini-based systems to client/server LANs.
(2) To reduce equipment and associated costs by switching to a less-expensive system.
(jargon) downsizing within Naval Aviation over the past decade has impacted a once robust adversary program. In its heyday of the 1980s, there were over 10 dedicated adversary squadrons. Today, there are just three units. VFCs 12 and 13 are joined by the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC NSAWC Naval Strike Air Warfare Center ) in filling this specialty. This command incorporates the former TOPGUN program, as well as the air-to-ground and airborne early warning The detection of enemy air or surface units by radar or other equipment carried in an airborne vehicle, and the transmitting of a warning to friendly units. Also called AEW. programs known as STRIKE U and TOPDOME, respectively, Located at NAS Fallon, NSAWC is considered the center of excellence for Navy advanced adversary tactics.
In the post-9/11 era, Navy carrier air wings are heavily tasked to fulfill commitments in support of the war on terrorism Terrorist acts and the threat of Terrorism have occupied the various law enforcement agencies in the U.S. government for many years. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, as amended by the usa patriot act . As a result, turnaround cycles between deployments can be compressed, and VFCs 12 and 13 train the air wings prior to deployment primarily with the high-intensity SFARP. This is the best opportunity for squadron-level training in which individual air combat skills are honed. Over a two-week period, the squadron conducts eight graded events in which every aspect of the flight is reviewed in detail.
VFC-12's training officer Lieutenant Commander Paul Ratkovich explained, "A single SFARP flight requires a six-to eight-hour evolution with the brief, flight and post-mission analysis. It's an intense, graduate-level training program in which we nitpick nit·pick
intr.v. nit·picked, nit·pick·ing, nit·picks
To be concerned with or find fault with insignificant details. See Synonyms at quibble.
nit the smallest details in an effort to make the pilots better.
"The SFARP requires the use of Level 4 adversary instructors and not all of our pilots are at this level at one time," Ratkovich continued. "One of our other main assignments is working with Strike Fighter Squadron 106 and Fighter Squadron 101, the Hornet and Tomcat A popular Java servlet container from the Apache Jakarta project. Tomcat uses the Jasper converter to turn JSPs into servlets for execution. Tomcat is widely used with the JBoss application server. For more information, visit http://jakarta.apache.org/tomcat. See Jakarta and JBoss. FRSs. This is less dynamic, more scripted flying because the pilots are newer and less experienced. We sometimes have other reserve fighter units assist us with this tasking."
LCdr. Gregory Gusinde of VFC-12 noted, "The qualification matrix for pilots fighting as Blue Air during SFARP is much different than acting as adversary pilots. Blue Air refers to the fleet fighter pilot (F/A-18 and F-14) executing a normal strike fighter mission. The adversary pilots are concerned with the quality of threat replication. It is a totally different mindset mind·set or mind-set
1. A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations.
2. An inclination or a habit. .
"A Level 1 adversary is a 'bandit' wingman wing·man
A pilot whose plane is positioned behind and outside the leader in a formation of flying aircraft.
Noun 1. wingman playing the role of a junior threat pilot," Gusinde explained. "A Level 2 adversary represents a threat country that is able to lead two airplanes into battle. A Level 3 is an adversary division leader of a four-plane group of Red Air fighters. The Level 4 bandit bandit: see brigandage. leads large force exercises."
Each VFC squadron completes up to five SFARPs per year, as well as eight to nine FRS evolutions per year. When not handling these responsibilities, the squadron works on the in-house qualifications of its pilots. LCdr. Ratkovich said the most challenging aspect of the VFC mission is "staying up to speed on new terminology and tactics. We work very closely with the TOPGUN program at NSAWC, and this keeps us in step with the latest tactics and enhances our credibility."
Summing up the value of the VFC units, Ratkovich stated, "We dramatically affect and enhance the learning ability of Navy fleet fighter pilots and their readiness for deployment. After we conclude an intensive SFARP, we get feedback directly from the pilots about the lessons they learned. If they come away with two or three things that they add to their repertoire, that's great for us."
The author is grateful to VFCs 12 and 13 for their support with this article. Special thanks to Cdr. John Cole; LCdrs. Jeffrey Grant, Gregory Gusinde and Paul Ratkovich; and Lt. Chad Mingo.
Story and Photos by Rick Llinares