HILL AIR FORE BASE — A variety of military aircraft visited northern Utah as Hill’s 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron conducted an in-depth weapons evaluation known as Combat Hammer at Hill Air Force Base and the Utah Test and Training Range August 3-13.
The evaluation is part of the Air Force’s Weapons System Evaluation Program, or WSEP. Maintainers and air crews built, loaded and employed weapons from F-35As, from Hill and Nellis AFB, Nev.; B-1s from Ellsworth AFB, S.D.; and MQ-9s from Creech AFB, Nev. Not all of the aircraft were based at Hill for the exercise, some made round-trip sorties to the UTTR from their home stations.
“During combat hammer, we are tasked to evaluate the reliability, maintainability, suitability, accuracy, and readiness of combat weapons systems against realistic threats and targets,” said Master Sgt. George Bermudez, superintendent of WESP at the 86 FWS. “This requires an end-to-end evaluation of the total fielded integrated weapons system — from the manufacturer delivery to the effect on the target.”
The 86th FWS is the single DOD agency charged with conducting predictive battle damage analysis of precision guided munitions using operational weapons, aircraft, maintenance personnel and aircrew.
The squadron also evaluates the total weapons systems including aircraft, weapon, weapon delivery system, aircrew, support equipment, technical data, and maintenance actions.
“We evaluate the bomb builds by each unit, and will then move onto the loading process, and finally to employment by aircrew members to the designated target site,” said Bermudez.