Wilcox RAID-Xe

Undaunted Service: Elite Firefighters Serve in Austere Environments

August 1st, 2021


A quick reaction force is an elite unit comprised of Airmen from multiple squadrons trained in combat and evasion. These Airmen are not only highly-skilled professionals, but they undergo special training to perform their duties in austere and potentially hostile environments.

Recently, the QRF firefighter component from the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, was sent to a forward operating base in Syria to provide support to its flight line.

“This team is made up of highly-qualified firefighting professionals trained for bare environments,” said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Rigsby, 386th ECES deputy fire chief. “We’re a rare group. Also, it’s just not very common for firefighters to get sent on a forward deployment. I’ve been in 16 years and this was my first time.”

The QRF firefighters’ purpose in Syria was to provide flight-line support per Air Mobility Command instructions. This allowed for a limitless number of aircraft to take off and land, and people and equipment to be removed for rotation. Their mission was to provide support so that the Army’s M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle unit could be extracted and replaced.

“We flew in with three fire trucks and our firefighting equipment. The Army was due to change out their people and equipment, and our presence allowed more aircraft to land in a shorter time span,” Rigsby said. “That enabled the Army to keep their same level of base and area protection and perform change-out 16 days quicker.”

While the QRF firefighters are tactically trained to operate under hostile and combative conditions, their essential duties are the same as non-QRF firefighters. They are vital to safe and expedient flight-line standards.

“Our primary job on a flight line is to provide it with crash-fire support so that they can maintain air operations over the area of responsibility, and also to provide hazmat and medical support as well,” said Senior Airman Travis Ferrell, 386th ECES firefighter. “So if anything goes down on the flight line, we respond. Whether it’s an in-flight or ground emergency, we will respond to mitigate any possible crisis that could happen. We like to say we’re the insurance policy for anything that happens on the flight line.”

Without the firefighter component of QRF, the flight line would only be able to support a limited number of aircraft taking off and landing per week, but with the QRF, the number of flights were unlimited. They supported 15 aircraft at two per day during their 30-day mission.

QRF members went through pre-deployment combat skills training at McGregor Range, New Mexico, and Evasion, Conduct After Capture training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. This type of training is for Airmen who will be operating outside the wire in high-risk environments.

“As QRF, we go to pre-deployment training so that we can deploy to places that don’t have established support, like FOBs,” Ferrell said. “Here, at Ali Al Salem (AB), we have great support and infrastructure, but we didn’t find that in Syria. We had nothing there.

We had to find our own water sources. We had to basically write our own standard operating procedures while we were out there on the fly. For instance, this is where we’re going to stage and this is how we’re going to respond,” Ferrell continued. “We get there. We make all these decisions. We face all these challenges, and then we complete the mission as quickly as we can, pack up and move on to somewhere else keeping the mission alive wherever we go.”

By SSgt Ryan Brooks, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Alpha TARAC with Dope Cheat Sheet

July 31st, 2021

The Alpha TARAC is an patented aftermarket accessory designed to enhance a rifle’s max point-blank range. It allows you to engage long-range targets just like in video games, aiming on the target versus somewhere above the target. Instead of holding over the target, the device shifts the target image to be at your holdover; that simple.

For targets exceeding 300 yds (or three football fields), flip the Alpha and Aim Center as far as 5/600 yds without holdover, range estimation, or thinking.

Simple familiarization with no formal training is required. Double hit-rate probability on long-range targets, increasing from 1:5 to 1:2 with less than 1 min of training (practicing solid fundamentals). Empirically verified by USASOC.

Cross-compatible across optics, zeroes, munitions, and platforms.

Checkout www.tacomHQ.com for details, SOF-user reports, and to automatically calculate the optimal unit based on your setup.

Rex Specs – Ear Pro

July 31st, 2021

Rex Specs Ear Pro by Zeteo Tech was developed specifically to protect military working dogs from temporary and permanent hearing loss that can arise from noise exposure. Hit this link to find out what that means in real terms.

Offered in Coyote and Black.


MQ-9 Agile Combat Employment: A Big Step Closer to Reality

July 31st, 2021


The 556th Test and Evaluation Squadron proved the MQ-9 Reaper’s Automatic Takeoff and Landing Capability (ATLC) is ready as of July 8, enabling crews to divert to airfields without traditional launch and recovery infrastructure or personnel. This capability is a key enabler for MQ-9 Agile Combat Employment and, combined with the MQ-9’s next software upgrade and receipt of the portable aircraft control station, will change how it will be employed in theaters worldwide.

Previously, all MQ-9 takeoffs and landings required a specialized launch and recovery crew located wherever the Reaper intended to land. But this time, with aircrew controlling the MQ-9 via satellite from their operating location at Nellis Air Force Base, the MQ-9 taxied to the runway and took off from Creech AFB, 55.6 miles away from the crew controlling it. The 556th TES recently proved this concept and landed at Creech AFB using ATLC while under satellite control from the aircrew at Nellis AFB, but this week’s sorties pushed the envelope much further.

On the first day of the two-day test, the 556th TES flew the MQ-9 from Creech AFB to Cannon AFB, New Mexico, landed, taxied, and took off again before returning to Creech AFB —  all under satellite control. In this instance, the aircrew used imagery in the cockpit to generate the reference points for the automated landing system. On the second day, the destination changed to Holloman AFB, New Mexico, and the team again proved the capability, this time using the targeting pod to survey the runway, feed the ATLC system the data needed to fly an airport traffic pattern, land, and take off again.

Initially published ATLC procedures required an MQ-9 to be at the airfield of operation to taxi down the runway and have the aircrew electronically mark reference points when the aircraft was physically in position on the runway. The sorties proved that requirement obsolete. The technology and 556th TES-derived tactics are ready today for the aircraft to divert to a foreign field where an MQ-9 has never been before, and there is no longer a requirement for specialized infrastructure to land the unmanned aerial vehicle.

“We’re taking up the chief of staff of the Air Force’s charge to accelerate change,” stated Lt. Col. Michael Chmielewski, 556th TES commander. “This is a clear win and I couldn’t be prouder of the team that put this test together, this quickly, to include the support we received from Air Force Special Operations Command and the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon (AFB), as well as Air Education and Training Command and the 49th Wing at Holloman (AFB). Their support and patience made the impact of this test what it needed to be and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with them.”

According to Chmielewski, the ATLC capability will shift the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Enterprise’s mindset. It sets the enterprise up to become more agile with the next scheduled software release in spring 2022.

556th Test and Evaluation Squadron

Photos by photo by A1C Jessica Sanchez

ALTI Selects Silvus StreamCasters as Primary Radio for All Medium and Large Aircraft

July 30th, 2021

Silvus Chosen for Ability to Provide Reliable Video Feed and Flight Data from Extended Ranges
Los Angeles, California (July 21, 2021) – Silvus Technologies, Inc. (“Silvus”) today announced the company has been selected as ALTI UAS’ (“ALTI”) primary radio, providing high-quality video and flight data for all medium and large unmanned aircraft. The radios were selected for their proven performance at extended ranges and their ability to reliably maintain a data link in austere environments – an essential requirement due to the surveillance and security applications of ALTI’s aircraft.

“As a leading VTOL unmanned aircraft manufacturer, we are constantly improving the quality of our platforms,” said Duran De Villiers, Director of ALTI. “After extensive testing, Silvus radios excelled at greater ranges than all other radios that we tested. Silvus’ performance, coupled with the hardware quality and functionality of the radios, is a critical addition to our platform and brings tremendous value to our customers,” added Development Manager Jaco Horn.

StreamCaster radios, which ALTI has previously used for demonstration and development platforms, were also selected for their sophisticated eigen beamforming technique. As ALTI continues development of their largest aircraft and corresponding data link, StreamCaster radios will be essential to maintaining the same level of performance and reliability at extended ranges.

“We strive to provide a single-radio solution for the toughest unmanned systems communications scenarios,” said Jimi Henderson, Silvus Vice President of Sales. “ALTI is a leader in the unmanned space, and we are proud to be selected as the primary radio for their aircraft, delivering unrivaled performance and unmatched range.”

In Memorial – USMC Gunner Jesse Schertz

July 30th, 2021

Retired Marine Gunner Jesse Schertz passed away unexpectedly on July 9th, when he was tragically struck by a vehicle in Stafford, VA.

While many knew Gunner Schertz during his career in the Marines, I did not meet him until he worked for Aimpoint. He was very friendly and knowledgeable. He will be missed.

There will be a celebration of life event on 31 July (Saturday) at the VFW Hall, located at 111 A. View Ave, Norfolk VA 23503 from 15:00-22:00 (3:00pm-10:00pm).

His memorial page can be found here.

Additionally, his friends have organized a fundraiser for his family at www.gofundme.com/f/jesse-schertz-memorial-fundraiser.

May He Rest In Peace.

Sterling Rope Company Launches Category Changing XEROS Technology: A Revolution in Dry Rope

July 30th, 2021

Sterling Rope Company is proud to announce the release of XEROS technology to most of their climbing ropes. XEROS is a new way to manufacture a UIAA Certified dry rope that is more effective, wear resistant, better for the environment, and at a lower cost. This also significantly reduces the number of SKUS and helps make the rope buying process easier on consumers and dealers. XEROS is exclusively available from Sterling Rope.

So, why are XEROS ropes so amazing?

Wet rope is weaker rope. The numbers don’t lie: Rope loses 20% to 40% of its strength when wet. And that can happen if you’re caught in a downpour, climbing an icy pitch, or even just dealing with prolonged exposure to high humidity.

The solution? Dry rope.

But it’s not a perfect solution. Traditional dry ropes are made “dry” with an exterior coating that keeps water out. That coating can wear (leaving the rope vulnerable to water), the finish can feel tacky (so it picks up dirt), and the process to coat the rope is labor-intensive—increasing cost and waste.

Sterling wanted to do better and went back to the drawing board for what a dry rope could be. In the process, they uncovered a whole new way to make dry rope.

This is XEROS technology

Through an exclusive partnership, Sterling spent the past three years working closely with their bluesign®-certified nylon yarn supplier to develop an entirely new way to create dry rope.

What Sterling created is not a coating applied to the rope, or a separate liquid bath treatment. It’s a new step in the manufacturing process of individual nylon fibers, before they’re even twisted into yarn, that makes each fiber water resistant. When making dry rope using these fibers, the result is a product that blows traditional dry rope out of the water.

“Overall, I am blown away by the performance of the XEROS dry treatment. There is simply not enough to be said about its quality. The DryXP NanoIX we’ve all used for a long time is already my preferred rope and I’m psyched to see it evolve to the next level with XEROS technology.”—Benny Lieber, Sterling Athlete and field tester

And that’s not the only thing that makes XEROS technology a breakthrough. Along with being PFOA-free, like all Sterling ropes, the XEROS technology process:

• Reduces waste
• Reduces energy use
• Reduces labor

In other words, this new process is better for the environment. And best of all, climbing rope with XEROS technology costs significantly less than rope made with traditional dry treatments. That’s right—there’s no premium to pay for a rope that’s truly ready for anything.

Stay strong in the wet

XEROS technology creates a dry rope with next-level performance—and without a sticky, vulnerable-to-wear outer coating. Because of the process, both the core and sheath are protected with XEROS, which reduces performance issues related to sheath slippage. All for a minimal price increase over traditional non-dry rope.

Sterling XEROS Ropes are available in:
• Duetto 8.4 mm
• Aero 9.2 mm
• IonR9.4mm
• Quest 9.6 mm
• Velocity 9.8 mm
• T-10 10.0 mm

Sterling Xeros Ropes will be available July 1, 2021 at REI, MEC and at SterlingRope.com. They will be available through all Sterling dealers starting September 1, 2021.

To hear more about Xeros, please check out this video by Sterling’s VP of Product and Marketing, Phil Shettig.

For more information, www.sterlingrope.com and www.verticalsupplygroup.com.

Luminae Shooter Belt

July 30th, 2021

Luminae claims that their Shooter Belt is the most ridgid shooters belt on the market. It is a low profile, extra stiff and ultra light belt system, made from a carbon based composite. It comes with an inner velcro belt as standard and is PALS compatible.

One interesting feature is the Luminae Custom Multicam Polymer Cobra Buckle.

The belt is fully adjustable from sizes 28″ waist to a 38″ waist.