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Archive for the ‘SOF’ Category

Moog Inc to Support L3Harris and Air Tractor Sky Warden Team on USSOCOM Armed Overwatch Program

Tuesday, October 18th, 2022

EAST AURORA, N.Y. – Oct 18, 2022 – Moog Inc. (NYSE: MOG.A and MOG.B) announced today that L3Harris Technologies has selected Moog’s Space and Defense segment to provide its weapon Stores Management System (SMS) in support of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Armed Overwatch Program.

L3Harris’ USSOCOM award includes an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with a cost ceiling of $3 billion. The program calls for delivery of up to 75 manned, fixed-wing aircraft. Moog’s combat proven, modular, lightweight, and affordable SMS solution will be integrated on each aircraft to provide superior fire-control and mission set capabilities.

“We are honored to have been part of the L3Harris team’s pursuit, resulting in this award after many months of intense competition,” said Jim Riedel, Group Vice President, Moog Inc. “This is a testament to the Sky WardenTM teams’ commitment to the warfighter and the demonstrated ability to deliver a quality, well-engineered, integrated multi-mission platform. Agility, innovation, and collaboration with teammates have been key to providing this robust solution. Moog is committed to reliably delivering our SMS products in support of our U.S. Special Operations Forces.”

The flexible design of the SMS enables rapid integration and future upgrades to the sensors, avionics, and weapons ensuring value for future mission requirements in response to rapidly evolving threats. The Moog weapon SMS Armed Overwatch solution set entails the following:

– Enhanced Stores Management Computer (E-SMC) – Stores Interface Unit (SIU)

– Remote Power Unit (RPU-6)

– Dual Rail Launcher (DRL) for HELLFIRE® Missile

The SMS equipment will be manufactured by Moog’s Integrated Defense Systems business in Orlando, Florida. Production of new, fully modified Armed Overwatch mission-configured aircraft will begin in 2023 at L3Harris’ Tulsa, Oklahoma modification center.

“Moog’s modern and flexible stores management system seamlessly integrates with our mission management system for mission agility and flexibility,” said Luke Savoie, President, ISR, L3Harris. “Our teams are prepared to deliver enhanced overwatch capabilities through mutual collaboration and rapid integration of new weapons systems.”

From the “AFSOC We Have” to the “AFSOC We Need”

Wednesday, October 12th, 2022


HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. – This month, Air Force Special Operations Command, AFSOC, is transitioning the way Air Force Special Operations Forces, AFSOF, present to the joint force. 

Following September 11, 2001, AFSOC’s force presentation focused heavily on providing crisis response capabilities and countering violent extremist organizations, or CVEO, through the Joint Special Operations Air Component, or JSOAC, deployment model.

This model, while historically successful in conducting crisis response and countering violent extremist organizations during more enduring operations, does not provide the necessary attributes required to succeed in the new operational environment.
AFSOC’s focus on C-VEO and crisis response has evolved to also include campaigning in the gray zone, employing SOF-peculiar capabilities, and developing and advancing relations with our international partners and allies.

“While the JSOAC model was effective for conducting command and control, or C2, of SOF air assets in recurring fixed deployment locations, the JSOAC was manned through an individual augmentee approach that didn’t properly allow commanders and staff to train, certify and deploy specifically for their deployed mission,” said Maj. Gen. Wolfe Davidson, AFSOC deputy commander. “The JSOAC was not trained or equipped to conduct the joint warfighting functions necessary for effective and adequate mission command. We had to take a look at how we were presenting forces and ask ourselves, ‘Does this look right?’ And if it doesn’t, what does?”
Enter the Special Operations Task Group, or SOTG.

“This change in how we present forces is transformative and drastically enhances AFSOC’s ability to present options to compete with and deter our adversaries below the threshold of armed conflict and add more strategic options for our nation’s leaders,” said Davidson.

Adhering to the U.S. Special Operations Command Comprehensive review, as well as Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown Jr.’s, “Accelerate Change or Lose” priorities, these squadron-based, task-focused groups take a significantly different approach than their JSOAC predecessors in a variety of ways.

While deployed, the JSOAC previously provided impromptu support on an “as needed basis.” The SOTG, unlike the JSOAC, will instead offer forces designed uniquely for each mission.
Additionally, the JSOACs provided operational staffs who relied on spontaneous manning that didn’t train or prepare teams for deployments whereas the SOTGs are tactical units that are manned through the force generation cycle, meaning Air Commandos are training together as they prepare for deployments.

“This new construct will allow us to not only accurately articulate our forces but will also enable us to deliberately develop a more credible, capable, and precise force with these purpose-built teams.” said Lt. Col. James Caldwell, AFSOC C2 Implementation Planning Team lead. “Airmen and their families will have much more predictability regarding deployments and the training that’s required before deploying.”

This predictability is due to the design of force generation model, which consists of four, 150-day phases – individual training, unit training, collective training and validation, and the deployment phase. Commanders will also have more deliberate oversight on deployment preparations which ultimately will increase mission success and drive down the risk to mission.

In addition to this predictability, this new structure of force presentation will enable commanders to more effectively accomplish mission command, which is key as the operational environment continues to shift.

The SOTG at its core, will be a squadron-based, O-5-led unit that will focus primarily on integrating multi-domain SOF air power into joint operations. Once forward, the SOTG will command flight-based echelons called Special Operations Task Units, or SOTUs. Each SOTU will have a unique capability tailored to that AORs requirement. These units may offer but are not limited to AC-130J, MC-130H, Special Tactics, U-28 or even agile combat support.

“This restructure will bring us in alignment with how all other SOF tactical units present forces,” said Lt. Col. Shawnee Williams, AFSOC C2 Implementation Planning Team lead. “It also ensures that AFSOFs unique multi-domain contributions give the Joint SOF community a competitive advantage.

With the first SOTG set to replace a JSOAC this month, the offerings of SOTG capabilities will likely evolve, as they’re structured to support Theater Special Operations Command’s tailored needs in their respective area of responsibilities.

Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

Horses and Swords of Lightning: the Book of ODA 595

Friday, October 7th, 2022

September 11th is a date widely – and rightly – recognized in the US. It is also observed (sometimes celebrated) by other nations and n0n-state actors.

Less well known are the late October dates when the men of ODA 595 put boots on Afghanistan ground to begin working with the Northern Alliance. Happily, a new book provides a first person account of that operation.

Swords of Lighting

David Reeder, reporting for SolSys LLC.

That anniversary is coming up fast. If you’re interested in knowing more about the mission, check out Swords of Lightning, the (tacitly) official account of the Horse Soldiers. This is not the story made famous by Hollywood.

[12 Strong is]..gripping, symbolic, and, according to the advertising and hoopla, based on a true story.

Except, no.

Then-Captain Mark Nutsch, the commander of ODA 595 on that mission), contributed to that book in partnership with then-CWO2 Bob Pennington (Assistant Detachment Commander), and author Jim DeFelice. It is a first person account rendered by and about some of the first SOF and OGA units deployed to Afghanistan after the attacks of 9/11.

GW Ayers, COO of Rainier Arms Firearms Academy with Mark Nutsch, one of the authors of Swords of Lightning. Nutsch was a guest speaker at Triggrcon 2022.

Nutsch spoke to a packed audience last night at Triggrcon 2022, discussing a wide range of topics from the mission, the book, and some of the Horse Soldiers’ more recent missions, including the recently launched charity Badger Six (named in memory Johnny “Mike” Spann) and his involvement in The Pineapple Express (q.v.).

Triggrcon’s Jim Lambert with Mark Nutsch, Swords of Lightning, and a bottle of Horse Soldiers bourbon.

Here’s an excerpt from…

Swords of Lighting

A rocket-launching truck appears amid a pack of Soviet-era tanks and armored personnel carriers in the Afghan mountains…Just when all seems lost, American Green Berets on horseback brave a hail of bullets and ride into the enemy position, firing shots at breakneck speed with an accuracy that would make John Wayne weep. Dodging bullets to the left and RPGs to the right, the SF soldiers overwhelm the armored column…clearing the way for an unparalleled victory of man and horse over machinery and evil. Martial music swells..

It’s a great scene, roughly the climax of the movie 12 Strong, ending the Taliban’s reign as protectors of Islamic terrorism. It’s gripping, symbolic, and, according to the advertising and hoopla, based on a true story.

Except, no.

There was a massive battle, and the good guys did win, but it didn’t happen that way.

Swords of Lightning (swordsoflightning.com), was written by Mark Nutsch, Bob Pennington, and Jim DeFelice. It is available in a variety of formats (including the old-fashioned paper ones).

Triggrcon staffer Shawn Johnston with Nutsch – and a bottle of Horse Soldiers Bourbon .


The Battle of Mogadishu

Monday, October 3rd, 2022

Everyday marks an anniversary of a significant event in American military history, but today stands out among them.

On this date in 1993, US service members were engaged in what is now known as the Battle of Mogadishu. A joint organization was formed named ” TF Ranger” to deploy to Mogadishu, Somalia in support of a UN-led humanitarian mission. Already having conducted operations for some time, on 3 October they raided the city’s Olympic Hotel in order to capture key leaders of the Aidid Militia.

Unfortunately, during the exfil portion of the raid, a battle ensued which claimed the lives of 18 Americans and wounded another 73. Additionally, CW3 Michael Durant was captured by the Aideed militia. Fortunately, Durant was later repatriated and went on to retire from the 160th.

Of the men killed that day, two would be awarded the Medal of Honor, Delta Operators Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart, for their selfless efforts to protect Durant after his aircraft, callsign Super 64, was shot down.

Last year, the US Army reevaluated the awards presented to the participants of that battle and amongst the Ranger element, upgraded 60 veteran’s awards including 58 Silver Stars and two Distinguished Flying Crosses. The order of battle included other organizations and their Soldiers will soon receive similar upgrades.

If you are unfamiliar with the events, one of the best accounts of the battle is contained in the book, “Blackhawk Down” by author Mark Bowden. Much of the information was serialized prior to the book’s publication in the Philadelphia Enquirer. Later this was made into a movie bearing the same name.

Please take a moment to remember these men and their sacrifice.

Additionally, the 75th Ranger Regiment was created on this day in 1984, with the stand up of its 3rd Battalion. Almost four decades later, the Ranger Regiment boasts boasts five battalions of some of the most elite warriors on the face of our planet.

SOFWERX – Multi-Capable Distribution Platform Assessment Event

Tuesday, September 27th, 2022

Do you or your organization specialize in UAS cargo payload capabilities? If you answered, “YES,” check out SOFWERX’s latest effort!

SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM PEO Special Operations Forces Support Activity (PEO-SOFSA) will host an Assessment Event (AE) to identify solutions to provide long range resupply via a multi-capable distribution platform in a contested environment.

PEO-SOFSA will explore emerging capabilities to meet known capability gaps to provide long range resupply via an MCDP in a contested environment involving low observable characteristics, autonomous between launch and recovery, GPS-hardened (includes alternate navigation capability(s), that is air transportable and uses standard aviation (e.g., Jet A) or ground fuels. 

On 13 October, SOFWERX will host a virtual Q&A telecon to help interested offerors better understand the PM’s specific technology objectives. RSVP NLT 12 October to attend!

For more information, please visit: events.sofwerx.org/mcdp

“Truly an honor.”: SOST Member Recognized as Air Force OAY

Friday, September 23rd, 2022


U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brandon Blake, a special operations surgical team member assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing, is set to be recognized as one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year at the 2022 Air, Space & Cyber Conference Sep. 19-21.

Blake and 35 fellow airmen were considered by an Air Force selection board for the department-wide award. Enlisted members are chosen based on superior leadership, job performance and personal achievements.

Blake is the Superintendent, Special Operations Surgical Team Detachment One, 720th Operations Squadron assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Last summer, Blake was a catalyst in the evacuation of over 124,000 evacuees in support of Operation ALLIES REFUGE. He drove a six-member team supporting thousands of military and civilian personnel, treating over 70 wounded individuals and assisting seven surgeries.

“I couldn’t have asked for a stronger team sergeant than MSgt Blake. His experience and leadership in stressful, highly dynamic environments was crucial to our team’s success while deployed to Afghanistan,” said U.S. Air Force Major Jesse Payne, deployment team lead and Medical Operations flight commander for the SOST Detachment 1.

The efforts of Blake and his team earned praise from then 82nd Airborne Division commander Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue and Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, General David H. Berger.

Additionally, Blake tackled the COVID-19 front lines at the University of Alabama Birmingham, a Level 1 trauma center, providing 768 acute service hours and aiding treatment for 156 severely injured patients.

“His ability to integrate with the civilian trauma system to see high acuity patients at UAB highlights the value of the Air Force partnership with the university,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Marc Northern, Blake’s former supervisor.

“He demonstrates his commitment to his unit, to his patients and to the mission every day. MSgt Blake upholds the highest level of compassion, clinical judgement, skill, and composure under pressure,” added Northern.

His leadership proved vital in his role as detachment superintendent, managing 25 members, four teams and four flights on top on a 1.5-million-dollar inventory.

His active roles, on top of countless trainings, exercises, and crisis response situations led to dozens of lives saved and exceptional operational readiness for the detachment.

Simultaneously, Blake earned a degree in Public Health and Healthcare Administration and spent free time with local animal rescue along with toy and food drives supporting low-income populations.

“To be recognized as OAY for Air Force Special Operations Command is truly an honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity,” said Blake. “I stand on the shoulders of giants, and I couldn’t have done any of this without my team.”

USSOCOM Selects SIG Rattler for Reduced Signature Assault Rifle

Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

The United States Special Operations Command has awarded SIG SAUER a 5-year, Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contract valued at $5,000,000.00.

SOF selected the Rattler for this Commercial PDW Contract, which is known as the Reduced Signature Assault Rifle (RSAR) within the Command in order to provide Operators with maximum firepower in a concealable weapon.

This IDIQ will provide complete PDW weapons (Sig Rattlers – 5.56mm and .300 Blackout caliber) that includes suppressors (SL series), cleaning kits, magazines, quick barrel change kits, force on force training kits and other accessories. Furthermore, parts, sustainment, and New Equipment Training is also part of this IDIQ.

Airman Accelerates Change Through Persistence, Develops Tool for RPAs

Tuesday, September 13th, 2022


In 2015, the 3rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit was tasked with reducing cargo taken on an MQ-1 Predator alert package with the goal to decrease the need for two C-17 Globemaster IIIs to only one. Then Tech. Sgt. Bridget Carroll had an idea to help achieve this goal with the creation of a “bird-in-a-box” later known as the Digital Aircraft Link Emulator, or DALE.

Though Carroll created the solution, she was not met with instant success. Her journey took seven years.

Spring 2015 – Need was discovered.

July 2015 – First MQ-1 DALE prototype created.

September 2015 – Airman Powered by Innovation submitted.

Spring 2016 – Space Dynamics Lab at the University of Utah created two DALE MQ-9 Reaper prototypes.

August 2018 – Air Force Special Operations Command 2019 Spark Tank competition submitted.

October 2018 – API disapproval

October 2018 – Notified that MQ-9 DALE had won AFSOC Spark Tank Top 5.

February 2019 – DALE presented at Air Force Association Spark Tank.

Present – DALE Jr. developed and employed.

“If we could mobilize our capability without an actual aircraft then we could get down range and get operational faster,” Carroll said. “I had the idea to put the minimum amount of aircraft parts in a box to still do line-of-sight checks with our control stations after we set up a field site.”

During her planning phase of DALE, the Air Force was retiring the MQ-1, which resulted in a lower risk if the aircraft parts were damaged during the project’s initial stages.

“Once all the parts came in, I took the MQ-1 computer, gutted an electronics case that was awaiting DRMO, spliced cables, drilled mounting brackets, and pieced together the first “bird-in-a-box” prototype,” she said.

Before the existence of DALE, this process would require more than 10 Airmen to accompany the package, set it up and tow the remotely piloted aircraft around the airfield to ensure link connections were made.

Today, the DALE can be unloaded and ready for use with two Airmen in less than an hour. It is used to establish line of sight connections on a remote airfield and can be unloaded, set up and prepared for link checks in a more efficient manner.

Carroll’s idea and her creation of DALE serve as an inspiration for all Airmen to lean into innovation to accelerate change.

“Spark Tank is a chance to celebrate our Air Force risk-takers, idea makers and entrepreneurs who refuse to accept the status quo and have determined their own fate by developing solutions that make it easier for us to bring our very best to the fight,” said Lauren Knausenberger, Spark Tank director.

Innovation competitions like Spark Tank create an avenue for Airmen to think outside of the box and in Carroll’s case, put her idea in a box.

“Don’t give up,” she said. “There’s always people and other avenues out there that will help you.”

Staff Sgt. Chase Ward, 727th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron avionics craftsman, began working alongside Carroll and the DALE jr. prototype last year and has witnessed the impact of her innovation. He said that the final version of DALE is in the process of being manufactured and sent out Air Force wide.

“I appreciate being able to watch this process go full circle,” Ward said. “It is awesome to know that our ideas do matter.”

Carroll’s journey and level of success is a testimony to hard work, dedication and the impact of empowering Airmen with a culture of innovation. She did not allow a hurdle such as not winning a competition prevent her from accomplishing her goals.

Story by TSgt Kaylee Clark

Photos by SSgt Candin Muniz

27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs