Air Force Special Operations Command Reservists will partake in the foreign internal defense mission for the first time. The command also is looking to procure a light, fixed-wing aircraft for combat aviation training.
This will be the first time that Reservists will participate in the command's foreign internal defense mission, he said in an interview. FID outreach and training helps teach US partners to apply airpower in countering internal threats.
Fiel said having Reservists in the FID mission is a "win-win" because Reservists typically stay at one duty assignment throughout their careers.
"You get continuity both in language training and in cultural training," he said.
The 919th SOW currently has nine MC-130Es, five of which will head to the Air Force's aircraft boneyard this year for retirement.
Because AFSOC will keep its new J-model MC-130s in the active duty force, it plans to procure 16 light, fixed-wing aircraft to engage partner nation air forces, said Fiel.
Previously, the 6th SOS operated an assortment of aircraft common to other countries and AFSOC would send its pilots to another country to train on a specific aircraft—something that turned out to be quite expensive, said Fiel.
The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review suggested that the command, instead, purchase one aircraft type that is easy to maintain and easy to fly.
"We didn't want to spend time teaching other countries how to fly this airplane," said Fiel. "It needs to be very simple, kind of like going from a Chevy to a Ford."
AFSOC will use four of the 16 aircraft at Duke for training. Three will be assigned to US Pacific Command, three to US Southern Command, and three to US Africa Command.
While AFRICOM is the current priority for US Special Operations Command, AFSOC "will not be in a position to deploy the aircraft to any theater until Fiscal 2014," said Capt. Kristen Duncan, AFSOC spokeswoman.
At that time, SOCOM "will determine which theater will require support from AFSOC," based on demand signal and mission requirement, she said.
The exact overseas beddown locations have not been determined yet, said Fiel.
"That doesn't really matter right now. Our task is to get the guys at Duke Field trained up on the combat aviation advisor status, which they currently are, and once the airplane shows up, we can start training them how to fly the airplane," he explained."Once we are comfortable with that, we can push out the first three ships."
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