HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron, Detachment 1, hosted Airmen and aircraft participating in the air-to-ground weapons evaluation program, May 1-11.
The Combat Hammer exercise takes place twice each year here, and twice annually at Eglin AFB, Florida, and is part of the Weapon System Evaluation Program (WSEP). WSEP has two parts: Combat Hammer evaluates all U.S. Air Force air-to-ground weapons, mostly bombs, while Combat Archer evaluates all the air-to-air weapons, mostly missiles.
During Combat Hammer, precision-guided air-to-ground weapons are evaluated for reliability, maintainability, suitability and accuracy.
“The results from Combat Hammer exercises are briefed annually all the way to the CSAF and SecAF, which in turn ensure USAF planners correctly resource air-to-ground weapons in sufficient quantities for worldwide contingencies,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Smith, 86th FWS Detachment 1 commander.
The 457th Fighter Squadron from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, brought 8 F-16 Fighting Falcons; the 75th Fighter Squadron from Moody AFB, Georgia, brought 12 A-10 Thunderbolt IIs; and the 199th Fighter Squadron from the Hawaii Air National Guard at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, brought 8 F-22 Raptor aircraft. In addition, off-station participation came from F-15 Eagles assigned to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; B-1 Lancers assigned to Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota; and B-2 Spirits assigned to Whiteman AFB, Missouri.
Ammo Airmen arrived before the aircraft and began building bombs, which were dropped at the Utah Test and Training Range during the exercise. Participants employed nearly 200 precision-guided munitions during this Combat Hammer exercise.
According to Smith, Hill AFB is an ideal location for Combat Hammer and his unit plays a critical role in its execution.
“The 86th FWS Detachment 1 is located at Hill AFB primarily because it utilizes the UTTR for the May and August exercises each year, and secondarily to assist in Combat Archer support,” he said. “All members of Detachment 1 work as lead evaluators to support Combat Hammer WSEPs throughout the year, at both Hill and Eglin AFB locations. It’s a team effort and we couldn’t accomplish the mission without great support from our Team Hill partners and the dedicated UTTR professionals!”
Combat Hammer will return to Hill AFB and the UTTR in August.