Possible Bold Quest Exercise and Civil Air Patrol Activity in Coastal Georgia

On 1 August, two French Air Force Rafales, FRENCH AIR FORCE 9171 (Rafale C, 119 French AF, EC03.030) and FRENCH AIR FORCE 9172 (Rafale B, 354, French AF EC01.004) arrived at the Savannah CRTC/ADC at the Savannah-Hilton Head IAP. They were supported by FRENCH AIR FORCE 4010 (A330 MRTT, 041, French AF ERVTS01.031) and FRENCH AIR FORCE 4011 (C-135FR, 470, French AF ERV04.031), both of which went into Joint Base Charleston while the Rafales continued to Savannah. That same week, two German Lear jets also arrived: KITE 50 (LJ35, D-CGFF, Gesellschaft fuer Flugzieldarstellung) and KITE 51 (LJ35, D-CGFN, Gesellschaft fuer Flugzieldarstellung). The last time the French Air Force were at Savannah along with Gesellschaft fuer Flugzieldarstellung Lears was in 2017 when there was a Bold Quest exercise. This week, both have been flying in the Fort Stewart, Townsend Range/Coastal MOA, and SEALORD airspace. DIXIE 61 (KC-135R, 57-1473, 117th ARW) and DIXIE 62 (KC-135R, 63-7984, 117th ARW) have been providing tanker support out of Hunter AAF. While I haven’t heard anyone mention the words Bold Quest, it sure does sound like a Bold Quest exercise is underway.

ADS-B Exchange plot of aircraft participating in what sounds like a Bold Quest exercise on 9 August 2022
ADS-B Exchange plot of aircraft participating in what sounds like a Bold Quest exercise on 10 August 2022

The screen shots from ADS-B Exchange above show where the aircraft were working: the German Lears over the western side of Fort Stewart and the French Rafales down at Townsend Range and the Coastal MOA. Tuesday’s activity featured a very rare visitor for Coastal Georgia airspace: an RC-135U: SHINR 40 (RC-135U, 64-14847, 45th RS). Some readers may note the two Civil Air Patrol aircraft working over the eastern side of Fort Stewart (more about them below); nothing I’ve heard on the radios has given any indication that they’re part of the same exercise as the Lears and Rafales. I think the German Lears have been on 336.500 encrypted after checking in with HATCHET on 245.500. The Rafales have been working with a JTAC using the callsign ADVANCE on 226.925 and 252.900 after checking in with HATCHET on 245.500.

119.100/257.800 - Savannah-HHI IAP Tower
124.975/279.575 - Hunter AAF Tower 
120.400/353.775 - Savannah TRACON
290.350/132.425 - Jax Center Hunter Ultra High
363.200/132.925 - Jax Center Allendale/Savannah Low
370.950/133.625 - Jax Center Georgetown High

233.100 - French AF Air-to-Air

127.350/279.625/41.300 - Marne Radio
228.400 - Townsend Range Control/Coastal MOA
252.900 - Townsend Range/Coastal MOA
226.975 - Townsend Range/Coastal MOA
120.950/284.500 - Sealord North Primary

245.500 - Unknown (working HATCHET)
336.500 - Unknown (encrypted - possibly KITEs)
234.050 - Aerial Refueling

CUSTOM ## (Rafale C 119 French AF EC03.030/Rafale B 354, French AF EC01.004)
KITE 50 (LJ35, D-CGFF, Gesellschaft fuer Flugzieldarstellung)
KITE 51 (LJ35, D-CGFN, Gesellschaft fuer Flugzieldarstellung)
SHINR 40 (RC-135U, 64-14847, 45th RS)
DIXIE 61 (KC-135R, 57-1473, 117th ARW)
DIXIE 62 (KC-135R, 63-7984, 117th ARW)
HATCHET (unknown Ground unit)
ADVANCE (JTAC)

On Tuesday evening, some Shaw AFB F-16s came down and worked with ADVANCE at Townsend Range and the Coastal MOA, but I don’t know if that was part of the exercise or not. Wednesday was the last day I’ll have this week to listen to the activity; if you’re interested in listening, hopefully this will give you a good place to start.

As far as the Civil Air Patrol activity goes, CAP aircraft have been coming out of Wright AAF/Midcoast Regional Airport in the mornings and working over the eastern side of Fort Stewart until around lunch time. On Tuesday, it was CAP 930 (C182, N402CV, GA Civil Air Patrol) and CAP 3903 (C182, N403CV, SC Civil Air Patrol); on Wednesday, it was CAP 161 (C182, N261CA, Civil Air Patrol) and CAP 3903 (C182, N403CV, SC Civil Air Patrol). Air to ground traffic from the CAP aircraft has been on the Midway repeater on 148.1500 (PL 107.2/$430) and CAP Air-to-Air Analog 149.275 (PL 141.3). On Tuesday, they were using the repeater in P25 mode and on Wednesday they were using it analog mode.

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