363rd ISR Wing

363d ISR Wing Shield

The shield of the 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. It is a subordinate unit of the 25th Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.


Mission

The 363d Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing, headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA, is the Air Force's premier precision targeting, special operations ISR, and full-spectrum analysis unit enabling warfighting Airmen.  The wing provides operations planning to major commands, component-numbered air forces, and theater air operations centers. The 363d Wing is the only entity solely focused on content-dominant multi-intelligence analysis and targeting for five distinct mission sets: Air Defenses, Counter-Space, Counter-ISR, TBM/Cruise Missile Threat, and Air Threat. The 363d ISR Wing provides tailored geospatial and comprehensive threat analysis to Air Force units employing airpower worldwide.  Additionally, it organizes, trains, equips and deploys airborne/ground tactical ISR professionals to conduct sensitive operations in response to national taskings.

 

History

The 363d Reconnaissance Wing activated on 15 August 1947 at Langley Field, VA.  Responsible for day and night photographic, visual, and tactical electronic reconnaissance, the wing’s squadrons maintained and flew RF-80 and RB-26 aircraft.   In 1948, the wing’s designation changed to emphasize its tactical focus.  The Korean War brought an additional mission to the wing: from September 1950 through early April 1951, the wing provided replacement crews to B‑26 squadrons flying combat operations over Korea.  On 2 April 1950, the 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing transferred to Shaw AFB, SC, where the wing would remain for more than 40 years.

 

From the mid-1950’s through the mid-1970’s, the wing served as the Air Force’s source for combat ready RF-101, RB/EB/WB-66, and RF-4 reconnaissance crews.  In 1957, wing pilots flew their RF-101s into the records books setting three speed records in Operation Sun Run.   Additionally, the wing deployed its own aircraft, aircrews, and intelligence Airmen for reconnaissance operations worldwide, most notably during the Cuban Missile Crisis (for which President John F. Kennedy personally presented the wing with an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award), the Dominican Republic Crisis, the war in Southeast Asia, and in the wake of North Korea’s seizure of the USS Pueblo.  The wing ceased its electronic reconnaissance and electronic warfare missions in 1974, but remained focused on tactical reconnaissance.

 

In 1982, the 363d, now a Tactical Fighter Wing, added the F-16 to its arsenal.  With its venerable RF-4 and newly fielded F-16, the wing became the only wing in Tactical Air Command with a dual fighter-reconnaissance role.  In 1989, the wing transitioned to a fighter mission when it transferred its last RF‑4 aircraft to other units.

 

From August 1990 to March 1991, the wing deployed most of its F-16s and Airmen to Southwest Asia to participate in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  One of the wing’s pilots who saw his first combat action on Day 1 of Desert Storm was our current Chief of Staff, General David L. Goldfein.  Following the end of Desert Storm, the wing continued to deploy its units to Southwest Asia on a rotational basis.  During one such deployment in December 1992, one of the wing’s squadron commanders, Lieutenant Colonel (later General) Gary L. North, downed an Iraqi MiG-25 over the southern no-fly zone.  This aerial victory constituted the first by a US Air Force F-16 pilot, the first US Air Force F‑16 beyond-visual-range kill, and the first kill achieved with an AIM-120 AMRAAM.

 

On 1 January 1994 as part of the Air Force’s post-Cold War draw down and reorganization, the Air Force inactivated the 363d Fighter Wing and transferred the 20th Fighter Wing to Shaw AFB to serve as the host unit for the base.

 

The wing remained inactive until 1998 when it was redesignated and activated as the 363d Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Kharj (later Prince Sultan Air Base), Saudi Arabia.  The 363d was among the first of several wings to be converted from permanent to provisional status and activated in an effort to perpetuate and add to the heritage of historic Air Force organizations.  Replacing the inactivated 4404thWing (Provisional), the 363d conducted combat operations for Operations Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom.  The 363d inactivated in August 2003 when the Air Force withdrew its major operating units from Saudi Arabia.

 

In 2007, the 363d activated again in Southwest Asia, this time as the 363d Flying Training Group based at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.  Assuming the mission formerly performed by the Gulf Air Warfare Center, the 363d Flying Training Group built partnerships, tactical capabilities, and improved interoperability to facilitate integrated air operations and missile defense.  The Flying Training Group inactivated in August 2011.

 

Almost 70 years after its first activation, the 363d returned to Langley.   On 17 February 2015 as part of a major transformation of its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance forces, the Air Force activated the 363d Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA.

 

Organization

Presently, the wing is organized into three ISR groups: the 361st ISR Group at Hurlburt Field, FL; the 363d ISR Group at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA; and the 365th ISR Group at Nellis AFB, NV.  States contributing mission-aligned ANG forces to the wing include Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington.  Air Force Reserve Command contributes two classic associate squadrons to the wing.  This globally-focused wing has almost 1,500 active duty and 1,700 ARC Airmen stationed across 15 states, England, and Japan.

 

The 363d ISR Wing is the Air Force's premier organization focused on precision targeting production, special operations ISR, and full-spectrum analysis enabling the tactical warfighter. The 363d Wing brings Air Force targeting and intelligence analysis capabilities together for the first time under one organization—one NAF and one MAJCOM.  This wing also flattens the lines between Air Force tactical units, the Air Force ISR enterprise, and the Intelligence Community, removing many of the stovepipes that restricted the flow of critical information, both to the tactical unit and from the unit to national agencies.

 

The 361st ISR Group provides ISR expertise to Air Force Special Operations Command, and strengthens analytical and targeting capabilities of the rest of the Air Force.  The group provides direct threat warning and enhanced situational awareness to AFSOC aircrews. The 361st is a selectively manned and uniquely tasked unit, providing a specialized ISR across the spectrum of operations from conflict through humanitarian relief, and is heavily tasked around the world.  The group and subordinate units conduct cultural and network studies to enhance tactics, techniques, and procedures to ensure interoperability within the special operations forces.  The 361st also conducts research and development of commercial and government-acquired communications suites. The group’s Airmen are qualified to serve as combat aircrew on every aircraft type within AFSOC.

 

The 363d ISR Group integrates kinetic and non-kinetic targeting for the Air Force, and is the single Air Force targeting reachback capability, enabling theater and functional air components, air operations centers, and all operations planning or intelligence activities requiring targeting intelligence.  The group is global in focus and provides the full array of targeting expertise required for the planning, integration, and employment of precision kinetic and non-kinetic effects, including intermediate and advanced target development, target graphics, weaponeering solutions, precision aim points for coordinate-seeking weapons, collateral damage estimates, cruise missile mission materials, Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile terminal area models, battle damage assessments, and a range of geospatial products for the Service and Joint mission planning communities.

 

The 365th ISR Group provides the Air Force's premier analytic capability.  The 365th is the Air Force lead for content-dominant analysis enabling airpower employment focusing on threat tactics, characteristics, and capabilities of adversary air, air defense, cruise/ballistic missile, space, and ISR forces.  Building on its expertise and ability to perform intelligence preparation of the environment, the Group provides threat analysis for high-end training and operations increasing the lethality and survivability of Air Force warfighters. The 365th ISR Group commander is dual-hatted as the U.S Air Force Warfare Center Director of Intelligence, sustaining world-class execution of Red Flag exercises, the 57th Adversary Tactics Group, and the Air Force Weapons School at Nellis.

Current as of 30 Sep 2017