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Arming Aircrew With Intel
by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Madeline Herzog
January 2, 2020

The 493rd Fighter Squadron intelligence analysts work hand-in-hand with aircrew on a daily basis to provide them current information before they start their mission.

The 493rd FS recently returned from a deployment, and Senior Airman Danielle Jansen, 493rd FS intel analyst, said that compared to the home station daily tasks, down-range is a very different environment when doing her job.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Robert Volsey, 493rd Fighter Squadron pilot, helps strap in Senior Airman Danielle Jansen, 493rd FS intelligence analyst, during a familiarization flight at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 21, 2019. Familiarization flights are Airman 1st Class Madeline Herzogized for individuals, who normally have aviation-related responsibilities with aircraft and missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Madeline Herzog)
U.S. Air Force Capt. Robert Volsey, 493rd Fighter Squadron pilot, helps strap in Senior Airman Danielle Jansen, 493rd FS intelligence analyst, during a familiarization flight at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 21, 2019. Familiarization flights are Airman 1st Class Madeline Herzogized for individuals, who normally have aviation-related responsibilities with aircraft and missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Madeline Herzog)

“At home base, you’re dealing with parameters that you’re in control of, such as what type of missile the aircraft is loaded with and what type of aircraft will be in the area of responsibility,” said Jansen. “While deployed, we are able to watch events play out in real-time, and support operations. It was definitely unpredictable.”

The deployed environment is ever-changing and an aircrew does not have much time to navigate the information domain. By partnering with intel, there is time to delve into the information and highlight important points.

“On the range, we didn’t have to ask them for anything; they knew exactly what we needed and when we needed it,” said Capt. Robert Volsey, 493rd FS pilot. “They provided an assessment of threats and we used that information to get an idea of what we will see while flying on our mission.”

Jansen said intel starts with a step-brief, providing aircrew current information over a period of time in the area of responsibility. They will then make sure aircrew have the proper gear, evasion charts, supplies and protection. After the flight, intel conducts a debrief to gather relevant information.

“Intel is there when we get back from our flight to take down all our data and so they can share that information with the rest of the intel community,” said Volsey. “It’s great when you have a good intel team, and you can trust the data they’re giving you.”

Jansen said the opportunity was the first time she could apply all her training to a real-world scenario.

“It was the best thing to have that operational experience and I learned more about why it’s all important,” said Jansen.

Liberty Wing Airmen work and train together to provide worldwide responsive combat air power and support as U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa’s premier on-call fighter wing.

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