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Hill squadron conducts weapons evaluation

An F-35A taxis during a combat exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, May 1, 2019. 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, conducted an integrated combat exercise where maintainers were tasked to continually provide ready aircraft and pilots took off in waves to simulate a large force engagement with enemy aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

An F-35A taxis during a combat exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, May 1, 2019. (U.S. Air Force file photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

HILL AIR FORE BASE, Utah --

A variety of military aircraft will visit northern Utah as Hill’s 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron conducts an in-depth weapons evaluation known as Combat Hammer at Hill Air Force Base and the Utah Test and Training Range starting Monday.

The evaluation is part of the Air Force's Weapons System Evaluation Program, or WSEP. Maintainers and air crews will build, load and employ 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 will be based at Hill for the exercise, some will make 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.

The evaluation is scheduled to end Aug. 13.