Rangers Exercise CAS with F-35A
Although the U.S. Air Force separated from the U.S. Army on September 18, 1947, the two forces have a long history of working together to dominate the sky and ground in combat.
This tradition continues today with the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th
Ranger Regiment’s recent visit to Eglin to conduct close air support
exercises with the F-35A Lightning II. The team members of the 3rd
Ranger Battalion are fire support specialists responsible for the
intelligence activities of the U.S. Army’s field artillery team.
Two F-35A’s teamed up with the 3rd Battalion to provide air support
against simulated hostile targets in close proximity to the Rangers. One
of the capabilities of the F-35 is to provide support to ground forces,
to include Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and Joint Fire Observers.
“[This] was the first time these guys have worked with the F-35A,” said Maj. Christopher Collins, a pilot in the 33rd Operations Support Squadron. “It was a great opportunity to share tactics and showcase some of the unique capabilities we have with this jet.”
In a CAS mission, Rangers are responsible for setting up and operating communications systems to encode and decode messages, assist in the preparation of fire support plans with target coordinates, operate laser range finders and target devices and determine target locations using computers or manual calculations.