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Home : News : State Partnership Program
NEWS | June 11, 2024

Western Air Defense Sector Wraps Up Enduring Partners Exercise

By Kimberly Burke, Western Air Defense Sector

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Airmen from the Royal Thai Air Force and the Washington Air National Guard’s 225th Air Defense Squadron participated in a subject matter expert exchange during the Enduring Partners 2024 exercise held simultaneously at the Western Air Defense Sector, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and Don Muang RTAF Base, Thailand.

Five 225th Air Defense Squadron members flew to Thailand via a Washington Air National Guard 141st Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker. WA ANG Guardsmen worked with RTAF weapons controllers on the ground control interception line of effort. 

Second Lt. Matthew Dawson, 225th ADS senior director, briefed on fighter aircraft tactics and how to conduct a tactical mission briefing and provided advice and feedback during tactical interception mission exercises. In return, RTAF weapons controllers helped 225th ADS controllers learn how to use the RTAF air command and control system for tactical intercept mission exercises typically consisting of four simulated F-16 Fighting Falcons.

The Washington National Guard and Thailand have been partners in the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program since 2002.

As part of their exchange April 30 to May 10, 30 RTAF members flew back to Washington state via the 141st ARW KC-135. Six of the RTAF members spent two weeks at the Western Air Defense Sector working on ground control interception. 

“The training objective is to continue to build strong relationships while providing the RTAF with advance command and control concepts to assist them in further developing their own tactics, techniques and procedures,” said 2nd Lt. Tyler Shoemaker, 225th ADS air battle manager.

“The first week included discussing topics of defense counter air, offense counter air, tactical briefing format, and mission planning,” explained 1st Lt. Micah Slifer, 225th ADS air battle manager. “The second week focused on (a) simulated defensive counter air mission planning exercise, which aimed to grow the RTAF’s team’s execution and knowledge of the processes.”

The RTAF weapons controllers used a simplified and sanitized battle control system-fixed (BCS-F) in the new WADS Mission Training Center (MTC). BCS-F is used to conduct surveillance, identification and control of U.S. sovereign airspace and control air defense assets, including fighters, to intercept and identify potential air threats to U.S. airspace. Using the MTC enabled WADS Airmen to provide instant feedback on controllers ALSSA (Air Land Sea Space Application) communications, scope mechanics, and tactical intercept of each scenario.

WADS Airmen showed RTAF members Seattle landmarks such as the Seattle Space Needle and Pike’s Place Market. They also spent time hiking Mount Rainier and trying local cuisine.

The Washington Air National Guard commander,  explained that “Going forward, Enduring Partners will be an aviation focused exercise in Thailand one year followed by an enabler focused exercise in both Thailand and the US the following year,“ said Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, Washington Air National Guard commander. “This Enduring Partners exercise is really the culmination of years of working with the RTAF to get to this point where we can have a dedicated and predictable SPP (State Partnership Program) exercise every year.”