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Nellis holds firepower demo

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ruth Curfman
  • Air Warfare Center Public Affairs
More than 2,500 people witnessed the first Air Force firepower demonstration since February 2003 at the Nevada Test and Training Range near here May 12.

The demonstration showcased the Air Force’s air and space capabilities. After being put on hold, the original quarterly demonstration will now be conducted twice a year.

“The purpose is to demonstrate the precision, speed and flexibility that air and space forces bring to the joint warfighter,” said Col. John Carter, Air Force Weapons School commandant.

More than 100 bombs ranging from 500-pound general-purpose bombs to cluster bombs and 2,000-pound unguided and laser-guided bombs were dropped during the 50-minute demonstration. About 4,000 rounds of 30 mm cannon shells and 50 rockets were also fired at tanks and other vehicles on the range.

Aircraft taking part in the demonstration included the RQ-/MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, F-15 Eagles, F-15E Strike Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, an F-117 Nighthawk, A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, HH-60G Pave Hawks, a B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortresses.

“It is impressive to see the combination of the high-tech integration of satellite communications, the aircraft and personnel,” said George Garcia, a North Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce board member. “It is interesting to see how it all comes together in real-time situations.”

Besides seeing targets destroyed, the audience witnessed how A-10 close-air support attacks are carried out while a downed pilot was rescued by 66th Rescue Squadron Airmen.

“I like the (A-10s) the best,” said Mr. Garcia. “I guess it’s a combination of their appearance and their abilities. They don’t look like your typical aircraft, and they’re so slow, but their ability to support the troops is amazing. The statistics concerning the amount of firepower they can unload, and so close to the battlefield, is impressive.”

The firepower demonstration shows people how military spending keeps America strong and able, officials said.

“I would definitely recommend (watching the demo) to anyone,” said Mr. Garcia. “It is good to see what our tax dollars and resources really enable the military to do.”

“It’s a lot more than just the pilot and the weapons system officer hitting (a) button. It takes every one of those people in our military to make things happen,” said Colonel Carter.

The next Air Force firepower demonstration is scheduled for October.