Hill AFB, UTTR evaluation exercises close

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Air Force photograph by Scott Wolff

An F-35A Lightning II aircraft from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, fires an AIM 120 missile at the Utah Test and Training Range, Aug. 17, 2017. The F-35 flew Combat Archer, an evaluation exercise which tests and validates the performance of crews, pilots, and their technology while deploying precision-guided munitions.

Evaluation exercises Combat Hammer and Combat Archer ended Aug. 18 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah and the Utah Test and Training Range. Both are part of the Weapons System Evaluation Program, or WSEP.

WSEP tested the performance of crews, pilots, and their technology while deploying air-to-ground and air-to-air precision-guided munitions. The goal of Combat Hammer is to evaluate the effectiveness, maintainability, suitability, and accuracy of precision guided air-to-ground munitions. Combat Archer evaluates operational Department of Defense and partner nations’ total air-to-air weapons system actions in live-fire, combat representative environments to improve Combat Air Force training and readiness as well as weapons effectiveness.

Staff Sgt. Ken Gongora, 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, prepares to lift an AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) during a Combat Archer weapons load at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Aug. 8, 2017. The missile was fired by an F-35A Lightning II aircraft at the Utah Test and Training Range during the evaluation exercise.

The exercises featured the first-ever participation for operational F-35A Lighting II aircraft assigned to the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill AFB.

In addition to the F-35s, the following aircraft participated: F-15E Strike Eagles from Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.; B-1B Lancers from Ellsworth AFB, D.D.; B-52 Stratfortresses from Barksdale AFB, La.; and Air National Guard F-16 Fighting Falcons from Kelly Field, Texas.

The 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron, a Hill tenant unit, conducted Combat Hammer while the 83rd FWS from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., hosted Combat Archer.
 

F-15 Strike Eagles from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., take off from Hill AFB, Aug. 8. The F-15s flew during Combat Hammer, an evaluation exercise which tests and validates the performance of crews, pilots, and their technology while deploying precision-guided munitions.

 

An Air National Guard F-16 Fighting Falcon from Kelly Field, Texas, flies in air space above Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Aug. 17, 2017. The F-16 flew during Combat Archer, an evaluation exercise which tests and validates the performance of crews, pilots, and their technology while deploying precision-guided munitions.

 

Maj. John Peskar, an F-15 pilot assigned to the 336th Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, passes by the air traffic control tower at Hill AFB, Aug. 9, 2017, after completing a training sortie. The F-15s flew during Combat Hammer, an evaluation exercise which tests and validates the performance of crews, pilots, and their technology while deploying precision-guided munitions.

 

Capt. Timothy Six, 388th Operations Support Squadron, prepares for flight Aug. 7 at Hill Air Force Base. F-35s were participating in the Weapons System Evaluation Program, or WSEP, for the first time as the jets continue toward Full Warfighting Capability.

 

Airmen assigned to the 388th Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight test laser guidance units to be used with GBU-12 bombs, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Aug. 3, 2017. The 500-pound bombs were dropped at the Utah Test and Training Range during the Weapons System Evaluation Program Aug. 7-18. WSEP tests and validates the performance of crews, pilots, and their technology while deploying precision-guided munitions.