WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — If you see more activity happening at McConnell Air Force Base and above Wichita next week, there is a good reason. McConnell is taking part in a large-scale exercise unlike any it has ever done before.
This week, McConnell’s 22nd Air Refueling Wing has been building a tent city on the base. The airmen need it for the exercise that runs from March 27 through March 31.
On Monday, approximately 100 airmen will move into the tents. During the five-day deployment exercise, they will live and work out of the tent city to simulate living and working at a remote deployed location.
Wichita residents may notice extra flight activity during the week because the exercise will include launching, repairing, recovering and relaunching several aircraft.
The airmen will have limited communication with the outside world, including not having their cell phones, to simulate life at a remote deployed location.
McConnell says America’s enemies have the technology to accurately pinpoint where forces are through personal electronic devices. It says that restricting electronics during the exercise trains airmen on how to fight in future high-tech conflicts.
A McConnell spokesperson said this will be the base’s first-ever large-scale exercise to demonstrate its ability to command and control aircraft in a deployed and degraded communications environment.
The week-long exercise will include several long-endurance flights, with augmented aircrews staying aloft for more than 24 hours, several air refueling missions, and an aeromedical evacuation training mission.