Interesting F/A-18 and F-15C Air-to-Ground Combat Training at Townsend Range and the Coastal MOA

Savannah – Over the last few days, from both home and from the mobile station, I have had the chance to listen to some very interesting air-to-ground combat training from Townsend Range and the Coastal MOA between Savannah and Brunswick in coastal Georgia. F/A-18s based out of MCAS Beaufort along with F/A-18s from NASJRB Fort Worth, TX have been working with ground assets LIGHTNING AIR and JUSTICE. I’m not sure who LIGHTNING AIR is, but JUSTICE seems to be either a JTAC or TACP. That in itself isn’t unusual, but what makes this activity so interesting is that F-15Cs from the 125th FW at Jacksonville IAP have been participating as well. This is the first time that I’ve heard the 125th FW F-15s working with JTACs or TACPs or with a FAC-A as they did yesterday afternoon.

There has been morning, afternoon, and night activity at Townsend Range this week involving all of the units I mentioned above, but the common denominators have been COWBOY ## (F/A-18A+) flights VMFA-112 and LIGHTNING AIR/JUSTICE. HAWK 8# (F/A-18D) flights from VMFA(AW)-533 at Beaufort and FANG 0# and GATOR 0# (F-15C) from the 125th FW at Jacksonville have joined them on the morning and afternoon sorties while TBOLT 5# (F/A-18C) flights have joined them during the night sorties. There has also been tanker support from RANGER 41 and RANGER 45 (KC-130J, VMGR-234) during the afternoon and night sorties. VMFA-112 is working out of MCAS Beaufort and VMGR-234 has been working out of Savannah IAP.

So far, the aircraft have been checking in to Townsend Range and the Coastal MOA on 228.400, then switching to either 252.900 or 226.975 to work with LIGHTNING AIR and JUSTICE. Aerial Refueling with the KC-130Js has been on one of VMGR-234’s frequencies – 289.800, which has also been used for air-to-air traffic between the two VMGR-234 aircraft. The VMFA-112 F/A-18s have been using 250.300 for their air-to-air traffic, but I’m not sure if it’s one of their assigned frequencies or if they’re borrowing it from MAG-31 while they’re here (it is a MAG-31 frequency). Otherwise, usual Base/Ops/Air-to-Air frequencies have been in use:

251.400 – VMFA-251 Tac 1
310.200 – VMFA(AW)-533 Base
234.075 – VMFA(AW)-533 Tac 1
299.300 – VMFA(AW)-533 Tac 2
251.250 – 125th FW Ops
273.900 – 125th FW SOF
234.800 – 125th FW Aux 5
253.700 – 125th FW Aux 6

The most fascinating part of this activity has been the participation of the F-15Cs from Jacksonville. I’ve been listening to the unit since around 1998 and this is the first time I’ve heard them do air-to-ground training with a JTAC or TACP like they have with JUSTICE. Some of it has been direct with JUSTICE and at other times it’s been through HAWK 8# acting as a FAC-A. I haven’t heard them drop bombs or launch missiles or rockets, I’ve just heard them do strafe runs at targets, but they have been checking in with both LITENING or Sniper pods. It’s been fascinating to listen to the 125th FW do something that’s outside of their normal Air-to-Air combat training and I hope it’s something they’ll do more often; I’ll be listening out for it!

Sentry Savannah Recap; 23 May 2018

Savannah – I got back into Savannah from Brunswick yesterday morning just in time to catch the last sorties of the latest Sentry Savannah exercise. It proved to be an interesting morning, with flights of F-15s, F-16s, F-22s, and T-38s being controlled by an E-3 and supported by two KC-135s. After the intercepts were over, a flight of F-22s returned to Langley while the other flights returned to their home base or to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP. After lunch, the rest of the F-22As and the T-38s began returning to Langley as a C-40 began picking up support personnel.

Below is a list of frequencies and callsigns in use during this iteration of Sentry Savannah. I don’t have any photographs to post this time since I wasn’t in town very much and when I was the weather wasn’t very cooperative.

119.100/257.800 – Savannah IAP Tower
124.975/279.575 – Hunter AAF Tower
126.200/285.425 – Hunter AAF Base Ops
120.400/353.775 – Savannah Approach/Departure
125.300/371.875 – Savannah Approach/Departure
118.400/307.225 – Savannah Approach/Departure

256.875/135.450 – Jax Center Keystone Ultra High
277.400/126.750 – Jax Center Brunswick Low
281.550 – Jax Center Georgetown High
282.200/124.675 – Jax Center Jekyll Low
285.650/126.125 – Jax Center Statesboro High
290.350/132.425 – Jax Center Hunter Ultra High
306.300/133.450 – Jax Center Florence Low
317.550/134.375 – Jax Center Charleston Low
319.200/127.875 – Jax Center Aiken High
346.300/133.300 – Jax Center Moultrie Ultra High
363.200/132.925 – Jax Center Allendale/Savannah Low

120.950/284.500 – SEALORD North Primary
313.700 – SEALORD North Secondary
133.950/267.500 – SEALORD South Primary

288.400 – NORAD Discrete; Check-In
293.600 – NORAD Discrete; Intercepts
316.300 – NORAD Discrete; Intercepts
282.600 – AWACS Discrete; Intercepts
254.200 – NORAD Discrete; Aerial Refueling
265.400 – NORAD Discrete; Aerial Refueling
274.400 – Aerial Refueling
278.000 – Aerial Refueling

228.400 – Townsend Range/Coastal MOA

237.000 – ADC Ops; 192nd FW “RAPTOR Ops,” 71st FTS “IRON Ops”
139.2125 ($293) – ADC; 192nd FW/71st FTS MOC
233.525 – 192nd FW Air-to-Air
257.075 – 192nd FW Air-to-Air
262.025 – 192nd FW Air-to-Air
296.900 – 192nd FW Air-to-Air
235.900 – 71st FTS Air-to-Air
320.600 – 71st FTS Air-to-Air, Fight Common

251.250 – 125th FW Ops
234.800 – 125th FW Aux 5
253.700 – 125th FW Aux 6
314.200 – 125th FW Aux 7

311.200 – 55th FS Ops
141.675 – 55th FS Air-to-Air
141.900 – 55th FS Air-to-Air
143.600 – 55th FS Air-to-Air

320.525 – 79th FS Ops
138.150 – 79th FS Air-to-Air
141.150 – 79th FS Air-to-Air
141.700 – 79th FS Air-to-Air
143.200 – 79th FS Air-to-Air

298.500 – Heard in use by another listener between 192nd FW/95th FS flights

BASH (F-22A, 192nd FW)
CORONA (F-22A, 192nd FW)
DEMON (F-22A, 192nd FW)
PANAMA (F-22A, 192nd FW)
RECAP (F-22A, 192nd FW)
SATAN (F-22A, 192nd FW)
SLAM (F-22A, 192nd FW)

IRON (T-38, 71st FTS)
MARLIN (T-38, 71st FTS)
MIG (T-38, 71st FTS)
VODKA (T-38, 71st FTS)
VOODOO (T-38, 71st FTS)

FANG (F-15C, 125th FW)
GATOR (F-15C, 125th FW)
JAGS (F-15C, 125th FW)

CONAN (F-16CM, 55th FS)
DUDE (F-16CM, 55th FS
SPIDER (F-16CM, 55th FS)
VOODOO (F-16CM, 55th FS)

DECAY (F-16CM, 79th FS)
DIESEL (F-16CM, 79th FS)
HELLCAT (F-16CM, 79th FS)
SCAR (F-16CM, 79th FS)
SLASH (F-16CM, 79th FS)
TURBAN (F-16CM, 79th FS)
WILD (F-16CM, 79th FS)

BONES (F-22A, 95th FS)
HEARSE (F-22A, 95th FS)

KEYS 83 (KC-135R, 58-0120, 186th ARW)
EXPO 81 (KC-135T, 58-0086, 141st ARW)
WYLIE 61 (KC-135R, 57-1427, 190th AW)
WYLIE 61 (KC-135R, 62-3572, 190th AW)

DOGHOUSE (325th FW Schoolhouse)
SENTRY 06/GOLIATH (E-3G, 78-0576, 960th ACCS)
HUNTRESS (NORAD EADS)
DRAGON (RTO)

BOXER 42 (C-40C, 02-0201, 113th Wing)

Another Sentry Savannah Exercise Underway at the Savannah Air Dominance Center

Savannah – Last week, F-22As from the 192nd Fighter Wing, Virginia Air National Guard and T-38s from the 71st Fighter Training Squadron, both from Langley AFB, arrived at the Savannah Air Dominance Center at the Savannah – Hilton Head International Airport. Given the timing of their arrival, I’m not sure if they are considering this week 1 of the exercise or week 2, so they may depart late this week or remain for next week as well. I wasn’t able to hear very much of the activity last week, but this week I’ve heard participating aircraft checking in “for the Sentry Savannah airspace,” so it’s definitely a Sentry Savannah exercise. The other participants so far have been F-15Cs from the 125th, Florida Air National Guard at Jacksonville, and two KC-135s; one from the 141st Air Refueling Wing, Washington Air National Guard at Fairchild AFB and one from the 190th Air Refueling Wing, Kansas Air National Guard at Forbes ANGB. For those familiar with previous iterations of Sentry Savannah, they’re using frequencies which have been fairly regular through the last few years.

Frequencies

119.100/257.800 – Savannah IAP Tower
124.975/279.575 – Hunter AAF Tower
126.200/285.425 – Hunter AAF Base Ops
120.400/353.775 – Savannah Approach/Departure
125.300/371.875 – Savannah Approach/Departure
118.400/307.225 – Savannah Approach/Departure

282.200/124.675 – Jax Center Jekyll Low
363.200/132.925 – Jax Center Allendale/Savannah Low

120.950/284.500 – Sealord North Primary
133.950/267.500 – Sealord South Primary

288.400 – NORAD Discrete; Check-In
293.600 – NORAD Discrete; Intercepts
316.300 – NORAD Discrete; Intercepts
274.400 – Aerial Refueling
278.000 – Aerial Refueling

237.000 – ADC Ops; 192nd FW “RAPTOR Ops,” 71st FTS “IRON Ops”
233.525 – 192nd FW Air-to-Air
257.075 – 192nd FW Air-to-Air
262.025 – 192nd FW Air-to-Air
296.900 – 192nd FW Air-to-Air
235.900 – 71st FTS Air-to-Air
320.600 – 71st FTS Air-to-Air, Fight Common

251.250 – 125th FW Ops
234.800 – 125th FW Aux 5
253.700 – 125th FW Aux 6
314.200 – 125th FW Aux 7

 

Callsigns

BASH (F-22A, 192nd FW)
DEMON (F-22A, 192nd FW)
RECAP (F-22A, 192nd FW)
SATAN (F-22A, 192nd FW)

MIG (T-38, 71st FTS)
VODKA (T-38, 71st FTS)
VOODOO (T-38, 71st FTS)

MARLIN (F-22A or T-38)

FANG (F-15C, 125th FW)
GATOR (F-15C, 125th FW)

EXPO 81 (KC-135T, 58-0086, 141st ARW)
WYLIE 61 (KC-135R, 62-3572, 190th AW)

DOGHOUSE (325th FW Schoolhouse)
HUNTRESS (NORAD EADS)

Sentry Savannah Photos; 1 February 2018

Savannah – After breakfast yesterday morning, I drove out to Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport to catch the Sentry Savannah aircraft recovering to Savannah from their morning sorties. When I first got to my spot (the old Applebee’s at SR 21/SR 307), the airport was using Runway 10, which meant that aircraft were taking off towards me and it wasn’t going to be a good spot to catch the fighters when they returned. I hung around a few minutes and caught the last departing fighters for the morning: VFA-143 F/A-18Es and 2nd FTS T-38s.

 

F/A-18E from VFA-143 climbing out of Savannah-Hilton Head IAP almost vertically, if you look closely you can see the afterburner trails

 

2nd FTS T-38 departing Savannah-Hilton Head Airport, this one stood out because they apparently replaced its left landing gear doors and haven’t gotten around to painting them to match the rest of the aircraft yet

 

F/A-18E from VFA-143 climbing out of Savannah-Hilton Head IAP vertically, if you look closely you can see the afterburner trails

 

After watching the last of the F/A-18Es and T-38s take off, I went around to the other side of the airport and found a good spot behind the Sam Sneads restaurant on Airport Rd. to watch the approach end of Runway 28. While I was there, a handful of T-38s and a flight of F/A-18Es returned; I didn’t get any good photos of the T-38s, but I did catch a good photo of one of the F/A-18Es.

 

F/A-18E, 168920, VFA-143 on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

After the F/A-18Es came in, the airport decided to switch runways to Runway 28, so it was back to my first spot. Once I was back at the old Applebee’s, 43rd FS F-22s, VFA-143 F/A-18Es, 2nd FTS T-38s, and 125th FW F-15s began to come back. It’s been awhile since I had the chance to watch any fighters, so it was fun to watch these come back and get some photos as they did. I had my Uniden BCD436HP scanning Savannah tower and the approach/departure frequencies so I could tell when each flight was coming and be ready.

 

F/A-18E, 168921, VFA-143 on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

43rd FS F-22A on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

43rd FS F-22A on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

Flight of 4 125th F-15Cs passing over Savannah-Hilton Head IAP before they broke formation for landing

 

F-22A, 01-4019, 43rd FS on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

F-22A, 01-4019, 43rd FS on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

F-15C, 86-0152, 125th FW on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

F-15C, 86-0152, 125th FW on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

F-15C, 86-0127, 125th FW on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

F-15C, 86-0143, on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

F-15C, 86-0177, 125th FW on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

T-38, 68-8139, 2nd FTS on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

 

Sentry Savannah Update; 2 February 2018

Savannah – After another day of monitoring the Sentry Savannah exercise and a ride out to the airport to watch the morning sorties recover, I have some updates on the frequencies and callsigns in use. 314.300 became an interesting frequency; on 31 January I thought the 159th FW F-15s were using it, but on 1 February, it was definitely being used by VFA-143 F/A-18Es. For now, I’m going to show it in use by both. Unfortunately, I’m not sure when I’ll have another opportunity to listen in so this may or may not be the last update on this Sentry Savannah. As always, if anyone has any additions or corrections, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

 

43rd FS F-22A on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

Frequencies
119.100/257.800 – Savannah IAP Tower
124.975/279.575 – Hunter AAF Tower
120.400/353.775 – Savannah Approach/Departure
125.300/371.875 – Savannah Approach/Departure
118.400/307.225 – Savannah Approach/Departure

269.550/124.700 – Jax Center Columbia Low
281.550 – Jax Center Georgetown High
282.200/124.675 – Jax Center Jekyll Low
282.300/135.975 – Jax Center Alma High
285.650/126.125 – Jax Center Statesboro High
363.200/132.925 – Jax Center Allendale/Savannah Low

120.950/284.500 – Sealord North Primary
133.950/267.500 – Sealord South Primary

288.400 – NORAD Discrete; Check-In
293.600 – NORAD Discrete; Blue Air
316.300 – NORAD Discrete; Red Air
265.400 – NORAD Discrete; Aerial Refueling
278.000 – Aerial Refueling

237.000 – ADC Ops; 43rd FS Ops
256.850 – 43rd FS Air-to-Air
288.900 – 43rd FS Air-to-Air
352.100 – 43rd FS Air-to-Air

290.000 – Old VMFA-251 Tac 1; 2nd FTS Ops
320.600 – 2nd FTS Air-to-Air

350.657 – North TACTS Range; VFA-143 Base
268.500 – VMFA-143 Tac
314.300 – VMFA-143 Tac
357.000 – VMFA-143 Tac

298.300 – 169th FW Ops
141.825 – 169th FW V14
140.125 – 169th FW V15

251.250 – 125th FW Ops
234.800 – 125th FW Aux 5
253.700 – 125th FW Aux 6

314.300 – 159th FW Air-to-Air

139.2125 ($293) – ADC; visiting unit aircraft maintenance/support
139.4125 ($293) – ADC; VFA-143 maintenance/support
141.6375 ($293) – ADC; 43rd FS maintenance/support
142.3625 ($293) – ADC; visiting unit aircraft maintenance/support

 

Callsigns
RAPTOR ## (F-22A, 43rd FS)
SAVAGE ## (F-22A, 43rd FS)
STINGER ## (F-22A, 43rd FS)

BEAGLE ## (T-38, 2nd FTS)
HOUND ## (T-38, 2nd FTS)

GRIFFIN ## (F/A-18E, VFA-143)
TAPROOM ## (F/A-18E, VFA-143)

MACE ## (F-16CM, 169th FW)

FANG ## (F-15C, 125th FW)
GATOR ## (F-15C, 125th FW)

JAZZ ## (F-15C, 159th FW)

DIXIE 10 (KC-135R, 63-8035, 117th ARW)
HUSKER 33 (KC-135R, 59-1495, 155th ARW)
SODA 55 (KC-135R, 59-1505, 134th ARW)

DOGHOUSE (325th FW Schoolhouse)
KREMLIN (Red Air GCA)
DRAGON (RTO)