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Here's What It's Like At SERE Training - Business Insider

The strike package arrived at the target area with five UCAVs remaining, which had already reallocated themselves against the targets—the manned fighters confirmed two targets hit before the surface to air missiles SAMs smashed into the fighters and forced both pilots to eject. Immediately, a distress signal with a low-probability-of-intercept went out the moment the ejection seat was clear.

While the surviving pilot, alive and on the ground but in shock and dazed, got his bearings, the signal confirming he was on the ground and alive, along with more information about his health, had already been to the satellite overhead and in turn to the CAOC. A few minutes later, his suit received the latest updates on his location and situation weather, terrain, known enemy locations, potential safe areas, etc.

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Fortunately, the weather was miserable—it was raining—which helped to hide his position. It was mid-afternoon and he had a few hours of low-light daylight to move in the direction the CAOC was suggesting, through rough terrain and likely unfriendly locals, but also potential hiding places to hunker for the night if needed.

Over the course of the following days, the pilot received intermittent update bursts of information and was able to send status reports. His flexible computer told him where the villages were and advised him on what natural foods he could eat without getting sick. He found running water where the map said he would. During the day, he could recharge the batteries with solar power and with his own muscle movements, which also worked at night and in poor weather.

He kept his morale up by following the path they laid out for him. His information was not always perfectly accurate, but it provided enough to allow him to adapt to the discrepancies. His goal was to get to an area where someone, or something, could recover him. The CAOC watched over him, encouraging him—reminding him that if he got stuck without food, as a last resort they could send an Unmanned Supply Air Vehicle USAV to drop some emergency rations, although it meant potentially highlighting his location.

After 12 days, his map showed him where they needed him, and the updated best path to get there.

Us Aircrew Combat Flight and Survival Gear

Two of them flew erratic paths that never come closer than 10 miles to him, but the third one landed right in front of him, in a small clearing. He strapped himself into the sling waiting for him, and when he tapped on the harness, it lifted him up and flew along the ridge and towards home.

It only had a range of about 80 miles, but that range was enough to get him to where the Rescue Force could safely pick him up and take him home. This could help ensure that training is fast and flexible to rapid change—avoiding delays for modifications to a simulator or training course. To achieve this, an LVC approach could seamlessly blend live and synthetic virtual and constructive assets: real people in real operational systems, real people in simulated systems, and computer-generated environments. Additionally, both AFRL speakers and other participants noted that LVC-augmented training could also provide quantifiable information for measuring the effectiveness of training and help to focus subsequent continuation training.

Communications and Geolocation Technologies. Confirming a downed aircraft, locating the downed aircrew, and establishing communications with them are considered to be among the most critical challenges to overcome for the PR team and the IP. Several workshop participants commented that pre-loading a smartphone with local maps, situational data, and survival and medical information could be a powerful survival tool, and one example, the Android Tactical Assault Kit ATAK currently in development by AFRL, was highlighted as a future technology.

Currently, the ATAK technology possesses a number of IP-relevant features, including the ability to calculate location using constellations, use wireless networks if available, use optical communications, and store large amounts of IP-relevant data including weather, terrain, local political situations, edible food, enemy patrols, and general survival and medical information. Although as the AFRL speaker noted, further enhancements would be required to enable this technology to be operational in highly contested environments.

Evasion Support and Sustainment Technologies.


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The need to ensure that the IP can survive and evade capture for a considerable period of time, perhaps weeks to months, was considered critical, especially in highly contested environments where immediate search and rescue might be unachievable. Technologies to address the challenges of resupply, power and energy, signature management, and even smart flight suits were presented and discussed.

One participant commented that he had previously pushed for integrating the flight suit with wearable technology, but that the initiative failed when reviewed by the uniform boards in the Pentagon because they want the flight suit to serve as a uniform as well.

One category of technology that resonated with workshop participants was unmanned vehicle resupply to the IP. Another technology presented by the U. At least one of the SERE trainers noted that rechargeable power sources for survival-gear-related electronics are critical to the IP. An AFRL presenter identified a number of topics under investigation to address power demands over an extended period for the IP.

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As several workshop attendees noted, many of the power and energy-related technologies are not unique to CSAR or IP requirements and that leveraging developments from the commercial sector could be beneficial. Other potentially applicable technologies included a steerable parachute for ejections, the potential for low-weight but highly nutritious food rations, and advanced water filtration methods—even the potential to extract water from humidity in the air.

Recovery and Extraction Technologies. The use of an unmanned personnel recovery vehicle was discussed as a possible means to recover the IP without placing additional aircrews at excessive risk. This was considered to be within the range of technological feasibility, despite the lack of a current requirement that could support the development of such a capability. However, the workshop participants from AFRL emphasized this technology was still in the very early stages of research and development. Personnel recovery in these environments, many participants noted, will be resource intensive, highly risky, and potentially impossible to conduct given available assets.

In their estimation, this will likely require a shift in focus to provisioning of survival equipment and SERE training to operate in highly contested environments and to the development of technology required to sustain and support the IP over significant periods of time. The statements made are those of the individual workshop participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies.

The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. All images are staff generated. Fraser, Gen. USAF Ret.

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Greer, Col. Washington, D. A 3-day workshop focusing on the needs of IPs was convened and examined the nature and consequences of the threat to the CSAR and PR mission, the current PR force structure, equipment and training for the IP, and technologies that might increase the survival of the IP moving into the timeframe. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

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Do you enjoy reading reports from the Academies online for free? Sign up for email notifications and we'll let you know about new publications in your areas of interest when they're released. Whatever training scenario context remained in our minds evaporated as our new captors slapped us - like hard - and threw us to the ground. We were forcibly loaded into the back of the troop transports and driven along a long road down the mountain, repeatedly told during the trip not to look out the back of the trucks or we'd be shot.

YouTube When the trucks stopped and we were yanked to the ground again I got a quick glance at my surroundings - a prison camp - before I was blindfolded and led to a cell. The guard removed my blindfold and forced me to sit on a box that was barely a foot tall and place my arms along my legs with my palms facing upward - what he called "the po-seesh.