Home » Aviation » Navy to Build Aegis Trainers for Surface Warfare Officers at ‘TOPGUN’

Navy to Build Aegis Trainers for Surface Warfare Officers at ‘TOPGUN’

An F-5 Tiger II from the Saints of Fighter Squadron Composite (VFC) 13 takes off from a runway on Naval Air Station Fallon on Nov. 4, 2014. US Navy Photo

An F-5 Tiger II from the Saints of Fighter Squadron Composite (VFC) 13 takes off from a runway on Naval Air Station Fallon on Nov. 4, 2014. US Navy Photo

U.S. Navy’s surface warfare officers will learn to track and target air threats in a planned Aegis combat system simulator that will be built at Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev., the head of the Navy’s new surface warfare training outfit told USNI News last week.

“TOPGUN has a facility and we’re going to add a piece to it and surface officers are going to Fallon to train,” said Rear Adm. James Kilby, the new commander of the Naval Surface Warfighting Development Center.
“It’ll be within the next two years, we’re looking to do that.”

In addition to the fighter weapons school — TOPGUN — Fallon is also home to the E-2 Hawkeye and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye training school — TOPDOME.

“We’re going to take warfare commander to Fallon to integrate and train with the E-2D [Advanced Hawkeye] squadrons and fighters,” he said.
“That’s going to be their capstone graduation exercise before they move on to sea and they’re going to do it again and again and again until they’re really good at it.”

The Navy is in the process of creating tighter combat information networks that will allow aircraft and ships to share targeting information for threats in a plan known as Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air (NIFC-CA).

NIFC-CA will maker its operational debut this year as a capability with the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (CSG) later this year and the training will match.

“The anti-air warfare ballet will change because it has to,” Kilby said.
“It has to become more collaborative.”

The planned facility at Fallon will start out with synthetic training but move into more collabaerative training with the air elements.

“We’re talking about how to do that live/virtual constructive training there on the range but initially – I believe — it’s going to be synthetic and contained,” Kilby said.

The new facility will be part of the Naval Surface Warfighting Development Center, announced last year by then commander of U.S. Navy Surface Forces — retired Vice Adm. Tom Copeman.

  • airider

    What about the other warfare areas? One step at a time I guess but continuing to only focus on air will continue to come back and bite our forces. A quick review of the threats that have actually damaged our surface forces recently shows that the threat is not air and probably won’t be going forward.

    • Ken Adams

      In his talk at the Surface Navy Association Symposium, RDML Kilby talked about how they were teaching WTIs – Warfare Tactics Instructors – for not only ant-air but anti-surface, anti-submarine, mine warfare, and expeditionary (i.e. amphibious) warfare. The new simulator capability at Fallon is just a piece of a bigger effort.

    • Curtis Conway

      Air moves faster than anything else on the battlefield. I understand it. Sensor fusion and understanding the capabilities and limitations of each element is the key to decisive timely action. Aegis is the answer. That is why it should be on the LCS (frigate) in an abbreviated fashion (SPY-1F). Donation missiles in this NIFC-CA environment would help too. The new frigate could play the part of the E-2D out front, he’s just on the surface, but alas the new frigate cannot defend itself, much more project any kind of power.

  • Steve

    And no discussion about the Link16 network issues?

  • Curtis Conway

    I thought this capability already existed. I’m appalled it has not to this point. This is fundamental to air-surface-subsurface-land warfare integration. it’s a huge ballet and you have to have a handle on the context of the battlefield at all times. Top Gun & Red Flag are both exercises that should be integrated into this capability. Joint force coordination, based upon proactive superior intelligence is the key to success. The lack of Joint electromagnetic spectrum management is key as well and should be integral to this activity. It must be a facilitating activity for us and Allies, and a debilitating activity to the opposition.