HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Airmen from across the country recently completed the Combat Hammer weapons evaluation at Hill Air Force Base and the Utah Test and Training Range May 8-14.
“If you enjoy watching action movies, you get to see that real world and live,” said Maj. Jonathan Reid, deputy director of operations for the Utah Test and Training Range. “It’s an opportunity to see everything work as advertised.”
Airmen from Utah, Missouri, Virginia and Florida participated — loading weapons, generating sorties and employing live and inert munitions on targets at the UTTR, with F-15s, F-16s, F-22s, B-52s and B-2s. The full “employment chain” was tested as pilots, maintainers and ammo troops demonstrated their abilities to use the weapons, and evaluators watched the weapons’ functionality as they hit the targets.
“Some of these crews, it’s the very first time, that they’ve had an opportunity to employ these weapons. It’s also a test for those who are loading and handling them,” said Lt. Col. Scott Logan, 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron commander, from Eglin AFB, Florida. “It makes it easier deploying weapons in a test environment, than doing it for the first time in combat.”
The testing was exhausting and expensive. Some crews worked 12-16 hour days, and by the end of the exercise, hundreds of weapons were employed.
“We want to make sure that we’re delivering the best combat capability that Americans deserve,” Logan said.
Hill Air Force Base provides unique benefits for the program.
“There are several reasons we’ve been coming here for a while. At the UTTR we have highly instrumented cameras and test equipment and the space to test things that we cannot in other places. We also enjoy the support of the 75th Air Base Wing, 388th Fighter Wing and the local community,” Logan said.