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Advanced target technology forges lethal force

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz
  • 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Air Commandos of the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight participated in live fire training utilizing state-of-the-art Robotic Human Type Targets, Nov. 8 at Melrose Air Force Range.

According to a capability brief, RHTT targets are autonomous and smart in nature, allowing for the creation of infinite realistic scenarios which call for Air Commandos to employ elevated tactical thought processes, and execute appropriate courses of action with real-time urgency.

Brad Brown, RHTT operations lead in the United States, said members of Cannon’s Range Management Office are being trained in proper use and maintenance of the RHTT system so it can be integrated into the training conducted at Melrose.

As a critical part Air Force Special Operations Command, the 27th Special Operations Wing seeks not only to train, but to transform the force and fleet to maintain relevance. With capabilities above and beyond those previously available, The RHTT system promises to produce special operators who are more prepared, and more lethal than ever before.

According to Brown, training with RHTT is more realistic than shooting at pop-up targets, or bits of steel and paper that move left and right because that’s not what service members will face in combat. The RHTT system runs realistic scenarios in addition to giving feedback on which shots hit, whether they were vital or non-vital, and how participants improve over time.

As a first-time participant in RHTT live fire training, 1st Lt. Steven Hunter, 27th SOCES EOD flight, reflected on the value of working with the system.

“The training is great,” Hunter said. “The robots can be programed to operate with each other, so they can even execute hostage scenarios requiring you to shoot the hostage-takers while leaving the hostage unharmed. The robots can even rush you in response to one of them being shot; they’re all talking to each other. It really shows you how hard it can be when a target is thinking and moving.”

When prioritizing what units require this type of advanced weapons training, those not belonging to the AFSOC community might view EOD as a less-than-obvious choice. According to Hunter, however, expecting the unexpected is the name of the game.

“A big part of our mission set is irregular warfare,” he said. “Most of our seasoned EOD members have been shot at on numerous occasions, or engaged in full-fledged fire fights. When you’re deployed with a team, you don’t want to be the weakest link; you don’t want other people worrying about you rather than the mission. As many things as can be second nature, should be second nature.”

As technology advances, so must the warfighter, and Air Commandos pride themselves on being steps ahead.