Misawa's Draughon Range helps pilots prepare to counter North Korean threats
DRAUGHON RANGE, Japan — The seeds of victory over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria were sown on a desolate beach in northern Japan. Now, Air Force and Navy pilots are there preparing for a more sophisticated enemy: North Korea.
Draughon Range encompasses 1,900 acres of sand dunes and forest near Misawa Air Base. It’s where Air Force and Navy pilots train to defeat enemy air defenses — a mission that would be crucial to any fight on the Korean Peninsula.
The suppression of enemy air defense, or SEAD, mission — also known as Wild Weasel — was born during the Vietnam War and has evolved to make use of Navy EA-18 Growlers capable of jamming enemy radar and Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons charged with destroying radar and missile launchers via precision bombing.
“We find, fix and target radars and missiles and provide access for other aircraft,” said 35th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Scott Jobe. He leads Misawa’s two squadrons of F-16s – jets that would be among the first to cross the Demilitarized Zone if a war were to happen.
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