U.S. Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) airman participated with the Royal Thai Air Force Combat Control Team (CCT) in the Cope Tiger 2019 exercise.
The opportunity for the two TACPs from the 116th Air Support Operations Squadron from the Washington Air National Guard, to execute a close air support mission on an unfamiliar range and expand their response capabilities was valuable. The opportunity to mentor their Thai brothers in arms, utilizing airpower from the U.S., Thailand and Singapore on a simulated battlefield, however, was priceless, according to the U.S. Air Force.
“We are working closely with the Thai combat control team exchanging tactics, techniques, and procedures, or TTPs, in regards to close air support,” said Master Sgt. Danny Aboy, a 116th ASOS JTAC.
On this particular mission, the airmen worked with their Thai military counterparts to direct Singaporean aircraft to enemy targets. Although there were no live munitions used throughout the mission, the ground controllers benefited from the simulated air strikes.
“We are practicing how we fight. The two-way communication that takes place between us and the pilots is essentially the exact same,” said Staff Sgt. Tim Williams, 116th ASOS JTAC. “The intent over the next ten years is for the Royal Thai Air Force to become signatories of the JTAC Memorandum of Agreement and be recognized across the world as a legitimate JTAC program.”
The Thai airmen will take their newly-acquired knowledge and train their subordinates.
“The three Thai CCT airmen we are conducting the subject matter exchange with are all in leadership positions,” Williams said. “They will first become GFACs, which is a stepping stone to becoming a JTAC down the road.”
The subject matter exchange supported Cope Tiger objectives in conjunction with the Air National Guard’s State Partnership Program (SPP), as Washington is Thailand's state partner. Engagements such as this meet the primary objectives of the SPP by cultivating enduring personal and institutional relationships that enhance, influence and promote a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.