Sim Air Control


The Army's reorganization into lighter brigade combat teams with less artillery has forced it to rely more on close air support. At the same time, close-quarters urban battles have made air support a trickier and more urgent affair than in previous conflicts. But different languages and incompatible ways of doing things have kept the Army and Air Force from working closely together.JAGOG.jpgThe Joint Air-Ground Operations Group at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas aims to change that.The group's four squadrons teach six courses for as many as 5,000 students per year. On the Army side, JAGOG instructs command staff, forward observers and fire support officers in how to talk to the Air Force and best integrate its aircraft into their operations. On the Air Force side, the group instructs ground-based and airborne controllers in the language of ground forces and methods for supporting them from the air.One of the neato tools at JAGOG's disposal is a new 360-degree dome simulator (see pic) that drops student forward air controllers into an Iraq-esque scenario featuring tough moving targets and itchy Air Force jet jockeys looping overhead. The controller must spot the target and talk in attacking pilots.Right now the sim is at the Air Force lab in Mesa, Arizona. But soon it should make its way to Nellis and daily use by JAGOG trainers. Where can I buy a ticket?--David Axe

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