First COCO Air Combat Training with USAFE-AFAFRICA

The air combat training program enables U.S. Air Force in Europe/Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) to evaluate training effectiveness, suitability and interoperability of contractor-operated air training for U.S. forces in the European theater By DA Reporter / 08 Mar 2022
HII air combat training mission

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has successfully completed the first Contractor-Owned, Contractor-Operated (COCO) air combat training mission with the U.S. Air Force in Europe. 

This training represents a milestone for contracted adversary air training outside the United States and enhances the training readiness for U.S. Air Forces in Europe/Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA).

Over a 16-month period leading up to the air combat training mission, HII architected the training program and facilitated the coordination of all operational components with European governments, regulatory agencies and USAFE-AFAFRICA. 

The air combat training program enables U.S. Air Forces in Europe to evaluate training effectiveness, suitability and interoperability of contractor-operated air training for U.S. forces in the European theater. COCO training support is a cost effective option for the U.S. government that maximizes training and extends the service life of combat equipment.

“Adversary training enhances the U.S. security defense posture, enables freedom of movement, fosters global security and increases combat effectiveness,” said Garry Schwartz, president of the ISR business group within HII’s Technical Solutions division. “HII is proud to have assisted in this ground-breaking effort in partnership with Top Aces to bring advanced COCO adversary aircraft training to USAFE-AFAFRICA’s fighter squadrons.”

Teaming partner Top Aces, Inc., a global leader in air combat training, provided adversary air support by flying the COCO Douglas A-4N Skyhawks.

“December’s flights with the U.S. Air Force in Europe’s 480th Fighter Squadron Warhawks at Spangdahlem Air Base, were the culmination of months of work by the HII team and partner Top Aces,” Schwartz said. “We presented sophisticated contractor adversary air training with advanced capabilities to a front-line fighter squadron within the unique constraints of Europe’s regulatory and airspace environment. Although this type of training has become commonplace for U.S.-based fighter units, this is the first assessment in USAFE-AFAFRICA’s European area of responsibility.”

Work was performed under the persistent multi-role operations task order for U.S. Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, issued under the one acquisition solution for integrated services contract by the U.S. General Services Administration.

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