HomeNewsArticle Display

F-35As fly in weapons evaluation

F-35As fly in weapons evaluation

An F-35A Lightning II aircraft from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, drops a 2,000-pound GBU-31 bomb over the Utah Test and Training Range, Aug. 10, 2017. The F-35 flew Combat Hammer, an evaluation exercise which tests and validates the performance of crews, pilots and their technology while deploying precision-guided munitions. (Courtesy Photo/Scott Wolff)

F-35As fly in weapons evaluation

Airman 1st Class Rahmeal Thomas, a 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, and Capt. Timothy Six, a 388th Operations Support Squadron pilot, prepare for flight in an F-35A Lightning II at Hill Air Force Base, Utah Aug. 7, 2017. The Airmen and aircraft participated in Combat Hammer, a multi-day air-to-ground weapons evaluation which takes place over the Utah Test and Training Range. (U.S. Air Force photo/R. Nial Bradshaw)

F-35As fly in weapons evaluation

An F-35A Lightning II aircraft from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, takes off, Aug. 7, 2017. The F-35 flew in Combat Hammer, an evaluation exercise which tests and validates the performance of crews, pilots, and their technology while deploying precision-guided munitions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Paul Holcomb)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE. Utah -- Airmen from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings supported and flew F-35A Lightning II aircraft during Combat Hammer, the first operational air-to-ground weapons evaluation for the Air Force’s newest fighter jets.

Combat Hammer is one phase of the Weapons System Evaluation Program, or WSEP, and tests and validates the performance of crews, pilots and their technology while deploying air-to-ground precision-guided munitions for the F-35A.

The weeklong evaluation exercise concluded Aug. 11, 2017 and Lt. Col. Timothy Smith, the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron detachment commander who oversaw Combat Hammer, said he received positive feedback regarding above-average mission and sortie rates.

“Overall, everything went as planned and all participating units performed very well, including the 34th Fighter Squadron’s F-35s,” he said.

Smith also praised the team effort involving corporate partners, the 388th and 419th FWs, pilots, munitions and maintenance personnel and the 86th FWS evaluators for making Combat Hammer a success.

The 53rd Wing is the operational test wing for the Air Force. They develop, test, evaluate and deliver effective and sustainable combat capabilities to perfect lethality and survivability of our nation’s combat forces. Teams from the 53rd Wing, the parent command of the 86th FWS, have been integral in the operational testing and evaluation of the F-35A that supported last year’s Initial Operational Capability declaration and now continue marching toward full operational capability for the Joint Strike Fighter.

Col. Dave Abba, the 53rd Wing commander at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, visited Hill AFB to observe Combat Hammer and meet with 86th FWS Airmen, operations crews and evaluation participants.

“It’s obvious to me that the active-duty and Reserve leadership chain at Hill (AFB) have completely jumped on board with bringing this airplane up to speed, getting it to FOC, and getting it ready to participate on a global scale,” said Abba. “They’re passionate to learn more about the weapon system and everybody is concerned with providing effective capability for the warfighter.”

Abba stated Combat Hammer was absolutely essential to ensuring that our (weapons) systems continue to work as they were designed to work. The emphasis is on finding potential issues in a controlled environment, with the ability to assess the weapons in real time to ensure that we don’t get surprised in combat.

Statistical data derived from Combat Hammer assists leaders at the highest Air Force levels in making resourcing decisions; it also provides contingency planners with a solid understanding on weapons systems performance and the effects they’ll achieve.

“What air-to-air (Combat Archer) and air-to-ground WSEP bring to the fight is statistical confidence,” said Abba. “So that’s really the key to this: it’s not simply subjective opinions about whether these things work or whether they don’t work, we bring the numbers to back it up so we can tell our senior leadership with a certain degree of confidence that this airplane with this munition against this sort of a target is going to have this probability of success.”

Abba is confident the F-35A will be a critical system in ensuring national security.

“It’s going to be the cornerstone of our fighting force for a long time and from what we’ve seen so far, it’s living up to the challenge and meeting our expectations, and in several areas exceeding it,” he said.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Remembering a woman who changed the world: Millicent Young, Women #AirForce Service Pilot in World War II, dies at… https://t.co/mri1QRXOC8
From fast food to future technology, one #Airman found a new calling @AirNatlGuard and decided to ditch the fryer f… https://t.co/I8qX7GpH4n
An #F35 sits on the flightline @LukeAFB, Jan. 10. Six different aircraft maintenance units from #TeamLuke competed… https://t.co/OxVMxf7Ayw
It takes a lot of coordination to clear a flightline of snow, but @TeamMisawa--a place that averaged more than 147… https://t.co/VQ4qjdsxFz
RT @SecAFOfficial: It is our responsibility to maintain a strong national defense @usairforce https://t.co/JXzhtqdMrg
When lives are on the line, there is no margin for error. Combat Search & Rescue #Airmen at #MoodyAFB conduct pre-d… https://t.co/AsWzaa1I00
RT @AFResearchLab: When a product goes from lab to battlefield, you can expect some amazing capabilities. See what work we've done to assis…
A B-2 Spirit bomber from @Whiteman_AFB, conducts aerial refueling near @JointBasePHH, during an interoperability tr… https://t.co/wzM5GvcviS
The #AirForce Life Cycle Management Center team is working to acquire next generation fixed-wing helmet.… https://t.co/LJ2xeCLdf2
Capt Jerry Yellin, #WWII fighter pilot who flew the last combat mission in August 1945, was laid to rest… https://t.co/XnSB9Yo3PC
75 years of @WrightPattAFB! Take a walk down memory lane with the leaders in military aviation development. https://t.co/vmjwxLUydg
C-5M #SuperGalaxy aircrew & aerial port specialists @Travis60AMW join the @USArmy to transport four UH-60… https://t.co/kTxdf9axY5
RT @SecAFOfficial: Why do we care about #space? It's contested. It's congested. It's competitive. https://t.co/DJZBjF2NHu
To continue the military’s strides to become a more cohesive force, @MacDill_AFB hosted its first #Joint #PME enhan… https://t.co/K56KEUVnIb
The #AirForce aims to boost cooperative technology development between small businesses and research institutions t… https://t.co/tUi4yBcqsx
RT @DeptofDefense: LIVE NOW: @POTUS, @VP and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan release the #MissileDefenseReview. https://t.co/3…
.@AirNatlGuard & @USNationalGuard #Soldiers working together towards mission readiness! https://t.co/gmVIaEqVww
The innovative thoughts & immediate actions of #JBER #Airmen ensured the Alaska Mission Operations Center had water… https://t.co/hl0zIIa05q
.@NCAirGuard #Airmen and @914ARW Reservists combined recipes for a rare hands-on experience. https://t.co/IAZ6LYrtzO https://t.co/WtjF4fITxh
Bringing the #futurefaster! @Offutt_AFB #Airmen bring ideas to life, build partnerships with academia through a ne… https://t.co/ujNSaBZxEL