Special tactical squadron fighters are dispersed to ensure safety in the landing zone. April 2020
Since the first flight of the aircraft, built by two American inventors and designers Wright brothers, in the United States with particular trepidation aviation. This is largely reflected in the armed forces of the country, as well as in the methods of warfare. The Air Force is currently playing a huge role in American military doctrine. At the same time, special forces, which are directly subordinate to the Special Operations Command of the Air Force, are the second largest in number of personnel after special forces of the US Army.
US Air Force Special Operations Command
Currently, the United States Air Force Special Operations Command (also known as the United States Air Force Special Forces Command, AFSOC) is the highest command authority for all special forces that are part of the Air Force. The main base and headquarters of AFSOC is the Herlburt Field Air Force Base, located in Okalus County, Florida, near the city of Mary Esther. Up to 8 thousand military personnel are based here. At the same time, the total number of special forces of the US Air Force is estimated at about 20 people, including the National Guard and civilian personnel.
The 1st, 24th, and 492nd Special Operations Wing Airplanes are located directly at Hurlburgh Field Airbase. The latter, among other things, includes the US Air Force Special Operations School, special training groups, as well as the 18th flight test squadron. This squadron is directly involved in testing and evaluating the capabilities of aircraft and helicopters intended for use by units of the Special Operations Command of the Air Force, including in combat conditions. Also, as part of the 492nd aviation wing, there is the 6th squadron of special operations, which also operates foreign equipment. In particular, the squadron was armed with Mi-8/17 helicopters and An-26 transport aircraft. The thing is that this squadron evaluates, trains and advises representatives of the aviation forces of foreign countries operating different equipment (not only American-made).
The pilots and fighters of the special forces of the US Air Force are well trained military specialists who are ready for quick deployment and operations anywhere in the world. They can perform tasks in any climatic conditions. US Air Force special forces are used to provide direct fire support to special forces groups, as well as reconnaissance, delivery of equipment, equipment, ammunition, as well as people to the territory controlled by the enemy. In addition, the special forces of the Air Force are responsible for training air gunners, meteorologists who can operate in combat conditions, teams to search and rescue the crews of helicopters and aircraft shot down or fallen on the territory of the enemy, radio technical specialists, psychological operations specialists, etc. d.
Aviation equipment US Air Force Special Operations Command during exercises. May 2020
In its current form, the US Air Force Special Operations Command was formed and has been operating since May 22, 1990. AFSOC is currently led by Lieutenant General James S. Slife, and has been in the position since June 2019. Under his direct command are linear special-purpose units: 1st, 24th and 27th special operations aviation wings, forward-based units: 352th special operations wing (stationed in the UK) and 353rd special operations group (stationed in Japan). Separately, we can distinguish the 492nd aviation wing of special operations, which includes the school of special operations of the Air Force and the squadron of flight tests, as well as the 919th wing of special operations, which is part of the US Air Force Reserve Command. Also subordinate to the US Air Force Special Operations Command are two units of the National Guard Air Force: 137th and 193rd Special Operations Groups.
US Air Force Special Operations Line Units
The line units of the US Air Force Special Operations Command are represented by four main units: 1st, 24th, 27th and 492nd Special Operations Aviation Wings. All of them are based directly in the USA. The 1st and 27th aviation wing specialize in direct fire support of special forces units on the battlefield, reconnaissance and surveillance of the enemy and his targets, and transportation of special forces units.
Organizationally, the 1st aviation wing of special operations of the Air Force is divided into four groups: 1st group of special operations (10 squadrons), 1st group of logistics services (4 squadrons), 1st medical group of special operations (3 squadrons), 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group (6 squadrons). The total number of personnel of the 1st aviation wing is estimated at 5200 people, including 520 specialists from among civilian personnel. Of these, approximately 1 personnel serve directly in the combat 1400st group of special operations and operate more than 55 different aircraft.
AC-130U Spooky Gunship
The US Air Force special forces are armed with the famous gunships, or flying batteries, - fire support aircraft AC-130U Spooky Gunship and AC-130J Ghostrider, armed with 105-mm artillery pieces. Today they are the only aircraft in the world with such powerful artillery weapons installed on board. The U.S. Air Force special-purpose aviation wings are also equipped with MQ-9 Reaper reconnaissance and drones (Reaper), CV-22 Osprey convertiplanes, MC-130H Combat Talon II special-purpose transport aircraft, and MC-130J special operations refueling aircraft Commando II.
The 24th aviation wing of the special operations of the US Air Force, which consists entirely of special tactical squadrons concentrated in two tactical groups: the 720th and 724th, is of greatest interest. Today it is the only special tactical wing in the US Air Force. This is the ground component of the special operations of the US Air Force, the forces that are most suitable for the Russian definition of special forces. That is, those same fighters who run the fastest, jump farthest, shoot from everything that can be shot, are trained to survive in various conditions and have a good level of knowledge about first aid, that is, classic Rimbos. The total number of special tactical squadrons is approximately 2500, of which 1650 are in the 24th aviation wing.
The personnel of these squadrons are well trained, equipped and armed to carry out special missions, primarily facilitating the conduct of air operations over the battlefield. Specialists of these squadrons can be involved in the capture of various airfields and objects of the military and civilian infrastructure of the enemy, opening up access to further build up troops. Capturing and organizing runways and sites, they provide an opportunity for attack, maneuver by troops and projecting forces in the region. Also, fighters of special tactical squadrons conduct combat search and rescue missions, collect intelligence, work as air guides, coordinating air support and airstrikes on enemy troops.
Also, these units include high-class rescuers and doctors who can be involved in treating personnel and injured military and civilians both during natural and man-made disasters, as well as during hostilities. They are able to quickly plan and conduct an operation to search for, rescue, treat and evacuate victims from an emergency or combat zone.
US Air Force Advanced Operations
Separately, we can distinguish the advanced units of special operations of the US Air Force, which are advanced and deployed outside the country. The 352nd Special Operations Wing is stationed in Europe in the UK, while the 353rd Special Operations Command of the United States Air Force is based in Japan in Okinawa Prefecture. At the same time, the 352nd wing of special operations is the only unit of special operations of the US Air Force in the European theater of operations. Each of these units has one tactical squadron focused on direct actions on the ground.
US Air Force Special Operations Command 353
The 352nd wing of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations is based at the Royal Air Force base Mildenhall. This base is mainly used today in the interests of the US military. The number of personnel of the unit is approximately 1100 people. The wing is used to prepare, train and perform special operations primarily on European territory. The military personnel of this unit can create and maintain airborne landing zones, provide aviation support for special forces and ground forces by attack aircraft, and provide trauma assistance to the wounded and injured.
The 353rd Special Operations Command Air Force Base is based in Japan at the Kaden Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture. This is the only special unit of the US Air Force, which is based in the Pacific Ocean. The number of personnel of the unit is estimated at approximately 800 people. In recent years, unit troops have been actively involved in assisting in the aftermath of natural disasters. Participated in the aftermath of the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004 and the strong earthquake and tsunami that hit the east coast of Japan in 2011.