Home : Media : News : News Article View

Weapons System Evaluation Program Tests 13th Fighter Squadron Weapons Capabilities

By Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase | 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs | July 10, 2018

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- The 13th Fighter Squadron participated in Combat Hammer at JBPH-H, an evaluation exercise, which is part of the Air Force’s weapons system evaluation program from June 11-15.

“Combat Hammer is where we evaluate cradle-to-grave precision guided munitions,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Shannon Beers, 86th Fighter Squadron Exercise Combat Hammer F-16 lead evaluator. “By this, we mean from storage, to maintenance putting them on aircraft, to how the aircrew employs them.”

Combat Hammer is one phase of WSEP, which encompasses a week-long evaluation of munition crews, maintenance, pilots and aircraft.

“This evaluation gives us the number of probabilities of target hits with these munitions,” continued Beers. “If something doesn’t work, we then evaluate the cause, and it will be determined whether it was the aircrew, munition or aircraft.”

The information gathered during WSEP gives the Commander of Air Combat Command an idea of how the units are doing. He will also see how the PGMs are doing and whether they are performing as advertised. If they’re not working, the Combat Hammer team can further investigate to understand why it isn’t working the way it should.

Misawa Air Base’s F-16 Fighting Falcons deployed GBU-12s and GBU-39s during the exercise. This is a valuable opportunity since this doesn’t occur in most pilots’ careers due to the limited ranges that can support the employment of the precision guided munitions.

“This exercise is significant because you can go a whole career without dropping these specific weapons,” said Maj. Jason Markzon, 13th FS assistant director of operations and WSEP detachment commander. “I have been in the Air Force for 10 years and have never dropped the GBU-39, so getting the newer pilots the opportunity to employ it early on in their career is essential.”

During WSEP, pilots get a better understanding of how to best employ their weapons systems and properly train with them in case of a real-world contingency.

The Combat Hammer team evaluates mission-ready or mission-capable pilots. Although the precision guided munitions are an essential part of the exercise, it’s also important to review how the aircrew employs the PGMs.

“Aircrew training is a definite part of what Combat Hammer is,” Beers said. “When you are in day-to-day training, all you do is simulate weapons. When you simulate weapons, there is no feedback; there’s no weapons dropping from the aircraft. Simulated weapons don’t have malfunctions like their real-world counterparts. This exercise allowed them to get weapons on targets and they did great. That was a win for the 13th.”

Soju visited here to observe Combat Hammer and meet with the 13th FS Airmen. He was impressed by the effort Airmen put forth to ensure all aircraft were mission-ready, despite obstacles.

“Misawa has done a lot of the leg work to get here to participate and execute Combat Hammer, but you also have the Combat Hammer folks who are providing a lot of support, different logistics and equipment,” said Markzon. “This has really been about give and take and working together to get the opportunity to execute this evaluation.”

During their tenure at JBPH-H, the 13th FS flew a total of 48 sorties, totaling 116 hours. Throughout the week-long Combat Hammer phase of the exercise, they flew 11 sorties totaling 34.9 hours and employed 10 GBU-12s and nine GBU-39s.

“Combat Hammer is an awesome opportunity we don’t get but every three to four years, if we are lucky,” Markzon said. “Coming out here really gave us the opportunity to do something new and beneficial that we wouldn't get to do otherwise at home. We can bring back what we learned and use these tools for future engagements.”
Like Us
Follow Us



India's Minister of Defence Visits USINDOPACOM Forces in Hawaii
Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Phil Davidson, hosts India’s Minister of Defence, Nirmala Sitharaman, on a barge tour of historic Pearl Harbor. India and the U.S. are global partners in defense and security and are working together to assure a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Dec. 7, 2018 - Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), Adm. Phil Davidson, hosted India’s Minister of

USS John C. Stennis Leverages Logistics Hub in Sri Lanka
In this file photo, a C-2A Greyhound assigned to the
Dec. 7, 2018 - INDIAN OCEAN -- Taking advantage of a growing naval partnership with Sri Lanka, the aircraft carrier

Exercise Forest Light 19.1 Press Release
Dec. 7, 2018 - OITA, Japan -- Approximately 260 Okinawa-based U.S. Marine Corps and Japan Ground Self Defense Force

Ronald Reagan Strike Group Conducts Cooperative Deployment alongside JMSDF in Philippine Sea
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the helicopter destroyer JS Izumo (DDH 183) sail alongside each other during a cooperative deployment. Ronald Reagan is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.  (
Dec. 7, 2018 - PHILIPPINE SEA -- The Ronald Reagan Strike Group and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter

America Bids Goodbye to President George H.W. Bush
WASHINGTON Joint Forces Honor Guard members participate in a departure ceremony for former President George H.W. Bush at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, Dec. 3, 2018. Nearly 4,000 military and civilian personnel from all branches of the U.S. armed forces, including Reserve and National Guard components, provided ceremonial support during the state funeral for the 41st president of the United States.
Dec. 7, 2018 - WASHINGTON -- Eulogies hailed former President George Herbert Walker Bush as both a great and a good