October 26, 2005

F-15E Strike Eagle ,with advanced targeting pod

Pod gives Strike Eagles an edge

by Master Sgt. Peter Borys
379th Air Expeditionary Wing

10/25/2005 - FORWARD DEPLOYED LOCATION (AFPN) -- In today’s war on terrorism, troops have many tools at their disposal. One of best tools -- and friend -- is the F-15E Strike Eagle, with its advanced targeting pod.

The pod gives pilots real-time information for targeting.

“The pod’s capability is simply staggering and it’s changing the battlefield on a daily basis,” said Lt. Col. James McGovern, 492nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander.

However, this modern technology is just of what makes the Strike Eagle such a key weapon system. It takes a dedicated team of professionals -- pilots, weapons systems officer and the Airmen that turn the wrenches, load the munitions and schedule the missions -- to make this jet a force to be reckoned with.

The squadron -- deployed here from Royal Air Force Base, Lakenheath -- supports both Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. During a mission there is constant contact with ground forces. So if they need help, the Eagles are ready to support them.

One of the squadron’s more robust missions is to monitor high threat areas.

Capt. Thomas Yeager, an Eagle pilot, said the squadron flies 24-hour operations and provides a keen eye for the ground troops.

“With the exceptional clarity of the targeting pod we have, the ability to talk to the coalition troops and pinpoint exact location,” he said.

Several times a week, squadron aircrews disrupt enemy plans.

“With the talent of the aircrew and the targeting pod, countless lives have been saved,” the captain said.

The squadron is also involved in other missions to quell insurgents.

“Our main objective is to make sure every young, fine Soldier or Marine fighting on the ground will be able to go home to his family for the holidays -- and have all of his limbs attached,” Captain Yeager said.

According to Lt. Col. McGovern, the one team, one fight attitude produces successful missions.

“When folks deploy to this theater -- no matter what job they do or -- whether they fly long airlift sorties, work on aircraft, engage the enemy directly with bombs or support the mission from services to civil engineers -- they all have one thing in common: getting the mission done,” he said.

The colonel said, “The modern world is too small a place, and there are some seriously bad people in it who are only one international doorstep away from our own homes and families. The folks in country -- on the ground -- need airpower to stop them.

“And it’s airpower they’re getting,” he said.

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