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Weapons evaluations begin next week at Hill, 4th FS deploys to Tyndall

a photo of a weapons load crew

Staff Sgt. Shaka Battle and Senior Airman Irvin Padilla, both 388th Fighter Wing, participate in Combat Hammer exercise, August 12, 2020, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The 34th Fighter Squadron, along with Reservists from the 419th Fighter Wing, recently completed the Weapons System Evaluation Program West (WESP), employing a variety of munitions with the F-35A Lighting II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Communities surrounding Hill Air Force Base will notice an increase in flying over the next two weeks as the Air Force conducts a weapons evaluation here.

Next week, F-35’s from the 34th Fighter Squadron, along with F-16s from Shaw AFB, S.C., AC-130 gunships from Hurlburt Field, Fla., and B-2s flying from Whiteman AFB, Mo., will participate in WSEP West, also known as Combat Hammer.

During Combat Hammer, Airmen evaluate every aspect of air-to-ground weapons employment, from building and loading munitions, to aircraft and pilot performance hitting targets on the Utah Test and Training Range.

The two-week evaluation runs from Nov. 2-13. Flying may begin as early as 7 a.m. the first week and wrap up as late as 8 p.m. during the second week.

While WSEP West is ongoing at Hill, the 4th Fighter Squadron, along with Reserve Airmen from the 419th Fighter Wing, will deploy 12 aircraft to Tyndall AFB, Fla. They will join other Air Force units for WSEP East, an air-to-air weapons evaluation, and Checkered Flag, a large-force combat exercise.

WSEP West is conducted by 86th FWS at Hill, which is the single DOD agency charged with conducting predictive battle damage analysis of precision guided air-to-ground munitions using operational weapons, aircraft, maintenance personnel and aircrew.