News Search


Kadena gears up for Northern Edge

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Rey Ramon
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from here will join an air armada assembling this week in the Alaskan region for a large joint force exercise designed to practice operations and sharpen interoperability among the services. 

More than 200 Kadena Air Base Airmen and aircraft will participate in Exercise Northern Edge '08, including F-15C Eagles from the 67th Fighter Squadron, KC-135 Stratotankers from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, and an E-3 Sentry from the 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron. 

"This exercise is a vital key to prepare the wing for actual combat conditions," said Lt. Col. Barry Cornish, 67th FS commander. "We'll be able to try some of the tactics, techniques, and procedures we've been working on." 

The biggest benefit of the exercise overall is the opportunity to work with our joint service partners to understand each others capabilities and limitations, said Col. Doug Carney, 18th Operations Group deputy commander. 

Northern Edge will also help improve deployment capabilities, allow exercising of large force tactics and enable electronic attack integration with the F-22 Raptors, said Colonel Cornish. 

This air-centric exercise hosted by Alaskan Command will involve more than 120 Air Force, Army, Air National Guard, Navy, and Marine aircraft. In addition to Kadena's aircraft, the exercise will include F-22 Raptors from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, F-16CJ Falcons from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and F-15s and F-16s from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. 

The exercise will last two weeks and will include multiple training scenarios over land and water to meet a variety of training objectives, said Colonel Carney. 

"This is a dramatic change from the airspace around Kadena," said the colonel. "Being able to fly over rough terrain is going to be valuable for everyone that will be participating."
The E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control system is also participating in the exercise and its crews will have the opportunity to train with terrain radar coverage. 

"This is another training benefit that we can't replicate here at Kadena," said Colonel Carney. "We're looking forward to taking advantage of it while we are in Alaska. 

This is only the second time Northern Edge has been conducted. Other large force exercises Kadena participates in include Keen Sword, Cope Tiger, and Red Flag. Pacific Air Forces schedules units to participate in large-force exercises prior to Air Expeditionary Force cycles. 

"These joint exercises focus largely on defensive counter-air tactics," said Colonel Carney. 

The intent is to put young pilots in the most complex scenarios, just short of combat, said Colonel Cornish. This helps to prepare them for actual contingencies. 

"Integrating with other assets in different conditions will challenge their aviation skills and make them more lethal," said Colonel Cornish. "The experience prepares them that much more." 

The constant testing of military assets through these exercises demonstrates the ability to rapidly deploy and apply global air power anywhere on short notice, added Colonel Carney. 

"Any potential adversary will take notice when we go out and participate in these big exercises," said Colonel Cornish. "With a 300 to 1 kill ratio during the operational readiness inspection, any potential aggressor out there that may want to entertain the idea of creating hostility will think twice."