The U.S. Air Force says its latest firefighting exercise is “more firefighting than you’ve ever seen,” with more than 30,000 firefighters in the field, but the drill is only a preview of what the military is likely to see in the future.
The drill will involve a mix of air support and ground troops, including armored personnel carriers, the first use of a helicopter in combat and a simulated mission to a target, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
Air Forces in Afghanistan are preparing for future battlefields in the coming years, and there is no doubt that the training will be used in the months and years ahead, Air Force spokesman Bryan Whitman said in a statement.
The firefighting exercises are part of the Air Force’s “Warfighter Ready” program, which has been ramping up since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U. S. and its allies.
The Air Force has used the program since 2006 to train troops for various combat scenarios.
Last year, the Army deployed more than 4,000 soldiers to Afghanistan to train for future military operations, while the Air Guard has deployed more combat troops to Afghanistan since 2011.
The Army and Air Force also have deployed more personnel to Afghanistan.
The first use was of a Chinook helicopter to fire on the Taliban in 2012, and the Air Forces have continued to use the helicopters, which are also used to attack insurgents, to support operations against the Taliban.
During the first half of this year, a combined U.