Pathfinders strengthen combat capabilities through CAPEX

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Eugene Oliver
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

The 420th Munitions Squadron conducted high-pace operations throughout a Combat Ammunition Production Exercise from Aug. 7-11 at RAF Welford.

CAPEX is a non-rated, non-aircraft, mass, live-munitions production exercise in support of air tasking orders, which provides the logistics community an opportunity to evaluate munitions combat readiness, base support plan adequacy, and tactics, techniques and procedures.

“This year’s exercise is focused on the munitions units here in the U.K. and includes RAF Lakenheath and RAF Welford, with Agile Combat Employment operations taking place on RAF Fairford,” said Maj. Preston Smith, 420th MUNS commander. “Additionally, this is the first year NATO partners have been included with members from the Royal Air Force participating in the exercise. Being able to integrate with our host nation partners is key to enabling ACE strategies.”

The exercise reinforces combat planning and production concepts taught at the Air Force Combat Ammunition Center and gives participating units an opportunity to measure their combat readiness.   

“CAPEX is designed to stress a unit’s ability to execute their mission by increasing their production rate beyond what is assumed during wartime,” said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Carvalho, 420th MUNS Senior Enlisted Leader. “Additionally, the evaluation team uses injects to force the unit to adapt to an ever-evolving scenario much like we would be faced with during times of war.”

As much as the exercise provided a useful measure of combat readiness it also displayed the units posture to execute the mission in support of allies across the region.

“It shows [adversaries] that our logistics capabilities are unmatched,” said Carvalho. “We can package and deliver some of the worlds most advanced weaponry anyplace at any time providing our military the ability to [conduct combat operations] from almost any airfield we so choose.”