NAVAL AIR STATION FALLON, Nev. –
Exercise Resolute Hunter, a joint/combined exercise involving four participating nations and four joint services, concluded its execution phase on Nov. 17, 2022, aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon, Nevada. Hosted by the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC), the three-week event is the DOD’s only dedicated Battle Management, Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (BMC2ISR) exercise.
Navy, Air Force (USAF), Marine Corps, Army and Air National Guard (ANG) members participated in the exercise alongside partner-nation representatives from the U.K. Royal Navy (RN), U.K. Royal Air Force (RAF), British Army, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Resolute Hunter serves as the capstone event for the 17-week Maritime Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (MISR) Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course, which is taught by NAWDC. The exercise provides a robust training event for BMC2ISR platform crews and operational and tactical intelligence teams.
The exercise also provides an unparalleled opportunity for operators to participate in a robust training environment to test their skill sets while engaging in a rolling campaign consisting of 11 vulnerability periods. The exercise includes events executed in both the overland and maritime environments. MISR students are taught kill web management which includes multiple kill chains, targets, sensors and weapons.
Marine Corps Lt. Col. Jay Whalen, of One Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), participated in both the precursor to Exercise Resolute Hunter in 2017 as well as follow-on exercises and has seen an improvement in the types of battle problems presented.
“Exercise Resolute Hunter allows for joint- and allied-partner interoperability participation in real-time problem sets,” said Whalen, who added the exercise provides Navy and Marine Corps-specific interoperability and integration opportunities to test and evaluate in a live environment.
The USAF Distributed Common Ground Station (DCGS) enterprise has participated in all seven exercises. For this iteration of Resolute Hunter, specific Distributed Ground Station (DGS) organizations participated, in California and Indiana. The Indiana location hosted the first USAF, DGS-Australia and RAF’s 1 ISR Wing blended team to include four Marine Corps personnel to increase interoperability.
“This exercise focused on sensors and processes from seabed to space, and included participants from multiple services and nations,” said Cmdr. Peter Salvaggio who created the MISR program and Exercise Resolute Hunter. He came up with the ideas during his deployment to Al Udeid Air Base, Doha, Qatar, in 2010.
Salvaggio researched a stand-alone environment where disaggregated platforms, weapons, sensors, and services could agnostically train together in a changing environment. Eight years later, in October 2018, the first MISR WTI course officially launched, followed in April 2019 with the first Exercise Resolute Hunter.
Salvaggio said that working with other services during overseas deployments served to cement the concept that has provided a multitude of collaboration opportunities for advanced learning. The uniqueness of this exercise will provide follow-on collaboration opportunities that will benefit participants after each exercise concludes.
“This exercise is extremely relevant to the real world,” said RAAF Wing Commander Marija Jovanovich, who serves as the Commander of the Australian Contingent at Resolute Hunter 23-1 and Commander of Number 10 Squadron AP-3C Electronic Warfare squadron. “This is the only exercise of its kind in the world. There is nothing better than this training environment enabling us to work and train alongside our allies.”
Four RAAF students have completed the MISR WTI training, and two students are currently enrolled in the course.
A unique feature of Resolute Hunter’s design is the incorporation of blue, green and red participants’ Desired Learning Objectives (DLOs) into each iteration of the exercise. Salvaggio estimated that around 95 percent of the DLOs submitted have been met during the various iterations.
The training environment is unique in that partner nations provide instructors and students creating cross-sharing of knowledge and experiences across all pay grades that will benefit them for years to come.
“Over the past seven iterations of Exercise Resolute Hunter, you would find an RAF instructor teaching a U.S. Navy Sailor or another iteration you would find an RAAF student receiving instruction from an RAF instructor,” said Salvaggio, who added the course was intentionally planned to increase collaboration across the services and partner nations.
Among the course’s other unusual features, it is a U.S. course used to qualify other nations. The course serves as the RAF’s culminating exercise to finalize their Qualified Weapons Instructor (QWI) training.
Over the past few years, the exercise planners have tailored Resolute Hunter to uniquely focus on the left side of the kill chain to provide enhanced situational awareness of all aspects of the exercise. Every iteration of the exercise includes new scenarios drawn from lessons learned from previous conflicts dating back to World War II to present-day conflicts.
While the MISR Weapons School is the smallest department at NAWDC, consisting of one department head, four action officers and six enlisted personnel, it is responsible for coordinating one of the largest bi-annual exercises at the command. The department is looking to expand to include 16 additional billets and five additional civilian staff by fiscal year 2025.
One of the Exercise Resolute Hunter students—the first from the RN to attend the MISR course—is Lt. William Curtis, who is assigned to the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.
“It is the best real-world training you can receive out of a combat zone,” Curtis said. “We need to get more people through this training without compromising the training.”
RAF Sgt. Sam Garner is assigned to RAF Waddington, in Lincolnshire, U.K., and has been enrolled in the training. Garner looked forward to applying what she has learned in the culminating exercise.
“This is where the future of the world is going.”
RAF Warrant Officer Graham Davis served as an instructor during the exercise. The RAF coordinates its QWI (ISR) training to coincide with Exercise Resolute Hunter.
“Through the MISR WTI course we have set up learning exchange opportunities to provide instructors,” Davis said.
The participants who graduate from the MISR WTI receive a significantly increased level of proficiency in managing complex ISR and dynamic targeting operations and the ability to learn lessons and gain valuable experience they can bring back to apply in real-world applications.
RAF Squadron Leader Jason Murray, Officer Commanding (OC) ISR Warfare School, a QWI to the 54 Squadron Advanced Air Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting, Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) Academy, participated in the exercise.
“We are getting an excellent integration exercise that provides ISR leaders and experts with an opportunity to participate utilizing real-time aircraft, to solve real problem sets,” Murray said. “The British military, and specifically the RAF, sees integration with MISR and Exercise Resolute Hunter as essential to future operations.”
MISR WTI bridges the gap between operators and the intelligence side of tactical and operational warfighting. The personnel attending the course are cross-trained in both the operational and intelligence disciplines to execute missions that include the find-fix-track-target (F2T2) portions of the high-end fight, along with immediate initial assessment after a strike has occurred. Operators also experience the entirety of the kill web and smaller kill chains.
“We are at a precipice in that the demand for the services that MISR WTIs provide is growing exponentially,” said Cmdr. David Bigay, the incoming MISR department head. “We are seeing a significant growth in MISR demand; therefore, the program and the throughput requirements are going to grow in the coming years.”
Jennifer Cragg is a communications specialist with Naval Aviation Enterprise.