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Combat exercise, weapons evaluations mean busy May at Hill

A formation of F-35 Lightning IIs from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings stationed at Hill Air Force Base perform aerial maneuvers during a combat exercise over Utah Test and Training Range, Nov. 19, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cory D. Payne)

A formation of F-35 Lightning IIs from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings stationed at Hill Air Force Base perform aerial maneuvers during a combat exercise over Utah Test and Training Range, Nov. 19, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cory D. Payne)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --

Communities surrounding Hill Air Force Base will notice increased flying and numbers of aircraft through much of May as the base’s fighter wings conduct a large combat exercise and host a weapons evaluation.

Next week, the active duty 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing, along with F-16 units from Holloman AFB, New Mexico, and Kunsan Air Base, Korea, will conduct an integrated combat exercise Tuesday and Wednesday.

Maintainers will be tasked with continually providing ready aircraft and pilots will take off in waves to simulate a large force engagement with enemy aircraft.

During the exercise, aircraft will take off in 45-minute intervals from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The last aircraft are scheduled to land around 6 p.m.

The base will then host a weapons evaluation May 6-17 at the Utah Test and Training Range. Known as Combat Hammer, the evaluation will include Hill’s F-35As; F-16s from Kunsan; F-16s Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina; and A-10s from Moody AFB, Georgia.

Combat Hammer is a regular training exercise where the effectiveness, maintainability, suitability and accuracy of munitions are evaluated.

During the evaluation, some flying will occur after dark but all aircraft are expected to land before 11 p.m.