Special Forces Related Exercise at Hunter AAF

Savannah – I was in Brunswick all week until Friday morning, but when I checked my Mode-S logs from home in Savannah throughout the week,  I was seeing some AFSOC (Air Force Special Operations Command) aircraft in the logs. When I got home Friday, I didn’t expect to hear anything since it was Veteran’s Day observed, but that evening I got a surprise when I sat down in the shack: some encrypted traffic on a known Satcom uplink and ARMY 319 on 124.975 with Hunter Tower. ARMY 319 had that distinctive Hughes MD-500 background audio from the rotors so I did a quick check on the Scramble database and found that 84-24319 is a 1-160th SOAR MH-6M “Little Bird.” A little later in the evening, EXODUS 11 (AC-130U, 89-1054, 1st SOW)  departed Hunter AAF to the west returned after about 2 hours. Other notable departures and arrivals were SIRIP 31 (MC-130J, 14-5800, 27th SOW), SIRIP 33 (MC-130H, 88-0193, 1st SOW), OLGA 95 (CV-22B, 27th or 58th SOW), and OLGA 96 (CV-22B, 27th or 58th SOW). Also departing and returning after several hours last night were two 22nd ARW KC-135s and a 437th/315th AW C-17 using the callsigns RUPEE 21/22 and TOLL 37.

 

124.975/279.575 – Hunter AAF Tower
126.200/285.425 – Hunter AAF Base Ops
363.200/132.925 – Jax Center Allendale/Savannah Low
285.650/126.125 – Jax Center Statesboro High
292.850 – Satcom Uplink

DEMISE – U-28A, 1st SOW
EXODUS – AC-130U, 1st SOW
OLGA – CV-22B, 27th or 58th SOW
RUPEE – KC-135R/T, 22nd ARW
SIRIP – MC-130H/J, 1st and 27th SOW

 

The callsigns noted above are exercise callsigns rather than normal unit callsigns, aircraft identification was made based on Mode-S hits that showed a callsign for the aircraft or by matching a Mode-S hit with a departing or arriving aircraft. Mode-S codes that were logged by the home Mode-S receiver and assisted in aircraft identification are:

AE02D8 – AC-130J, 89-1054, 1st SOW
AE20C3 – C-17A, 07-7182, 437th/315th AW
AE20C6 – C-17A, 07-7185, 437th/315th AW
AE2FA3 – C-17A, 08-8191, 437th/315th AW
000001 – CV-22B, 27th or 58th SOW
000003 – CV-22B, 27th or 58th SOW
AE4ECE – CV-22B, 05-0028, 58th SOW
AE4EEF – CV-22B, 10-0056, 27th SOW
AE5725 – CV-22B
AE0242 – KC-135T, 58-0065, 22nd ARW
AE04B8 – KC-135R, 58-0018, 22nd ARW
AE04E8 – KC-135R, 60-0356, 22nd ARW
AE12AC – MC-130H, 88-1803, 1st SOW
AE12B8 – MC-130H, 88-0193, 1st SOW
AE4E1A – MC-310J, 11-5729, 27th SOW
AE5966 – MC-130J, 14-5800, 27th SOW
A5F1FC – U-28A, 05-0482, 1st SOW

The two CV-22Bs come back to two different units, but my suspicion is that both are from the same unit, the 27th SOW. 05-0028 is in Scramble’s database as a 58th SOW aircraft but was last verified as with that unit in 2013 so it could have been moved, additionally, the 27th SOW CV-22Bs are previous participants in prior exercises of this nature.

I’m not sure when the exercise started or when it will end, but I caught all of yesterday’s aircraft with the exception of the U-28 return to Hunter. I would guess that means we’ve got at least one more round of evening/night activity to come, so if you’re interested in seeing or hearing something a little different, keep your eyes and ears to the sky.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Special Forces Related Exercise at Hunter AAF

  1. Mac, I saw a Hughes MD-500 Thursday near my office which is very close to Hunter. I’m always looking and I usually don’t see them around here. Additionally, last night we were coming home and as we went over the Hwy 80 fly-over near Battery Point we saw a string of aircraft in formation. All we could see were lights but the altitude and closeness tells me they were helicopters. Always neat to see.

    1. The MH-6Ms would be in very dark green paint, so if you see them during the day, they’re pretty distinctive. None are based here, 3-160 SOAR only has MH-60s and MH-47s so these are from Fort Campbell and down here for the exercise. They’re definitely rare catches in our area. Before I fell asleep last night I didn’t catch any flights of helicopters coming in, no clue what might have come in after I crashed out.

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