Weapons system evaluation brings additional aircraft to Utah

  • Published
  • By Donovan K. Potter
  • 388th Fighter Wing
Residents around Hill may notice an increase in aircraft arrivals and departures Aug. 7-18 as the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron conducts the U.S. Air Force air-to-ground exercise known as Combat Hammer and air-to-air exercise known as Combat Archer.

During the next couple of weeks, aircraft from Hill and four other units from around the nation will travel to the Utah Test and Training Range to drop munitions in realistic combat scenarios. With support from the 388th Fighter Wing and 75th Air Base Wing, 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron Airmen will collect and analyze data on how these precision weapons perform and their suitability for use in combat.

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.

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

Aircraft participating in the Air Force Weapons System Evaluation Program include: F-35As from Hill AFB; F-15Es from Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina; B-1s from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota and B-52s from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana.