The US military appears to be practicing air assault on Russian-style air defense systems and military equipment during the Southern Strike 19 war games at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
“Southern Strike 19 is a total force, multi-service training exercise hosted by the Mississippi National Guard at training sites throughout the state. The exercise allows participant the opportunity to build partnerships and maintain combat readiness for future missions.,” the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website reads. The website also contains a video of Col Billy Murphy, Southern Strike Executive Director, who discusses the type of training conducted during Southern Strike and what attracts units to the exercise.
The exercise will last from January 15th through January 30th.
The 172d Airlift Wing released a video on January 20th which showed Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) from the 148th Air Force Special Operations Command (ASOS) coordinating targets, AH-64 Apache crews firing on targets during the drills.
The Shelby Air to Ground Range is one of several locations where Southern Strike 19 training is in full force. Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) from the 148th Air Force Special Operations Command (ASOS) coordinates targets for AH-64 Apache crews to fire upon during training exercises at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Lt Col Edward Knox, Range Control Officer for the Camp Shelby Air to Ground Bombing Range explains the operations. Southern Strike is a large scale, conventional and special operations exercise hosted by the Mississippi Air National Guard. #SSTK(Video by Master Sgt Ed Staton, 172 AW Public Affairs.)
Posted by Mississippi National Guard on Saturday, January 19, 2019
The video showed footage of presumably Russian-styled military equipment such as 9K33 OSA short-range tactical surface-to-air missile systems, TOR short-range surface-to-air missile systems and BTR-80 amphibious armored personnel carrier.
During the war games, Apache crews are attempting to regain their air assault skills that were de-emphasised after the threat of a ground war waned with the end of the Cold War.
“The US military uses styled or real combat vehicles and air defense systems to add extra realism to various exercises,” the Defence Blog noted.
The 266th Range Squadron serves as a training adversary at the Shelby Air to Ground Range during Southern Strike 19. Southern Strike features counter insurgency, air supremacy, close air support, en route casualty care, non-combatant evacuation, maritime and riverine special operations events. (Video by Master Sgt. Ed Staton, 172 AW Public Affairs) #SSTK19
Posted by Mississippi National Guard on Thursday, January 24, 2019
The US Department of Defense appears to be preparing for a great-power conflict – especially on the ground in Europe, where a number of countries are concerned due to heightened tensions with Russia.