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



U.S. 7th Fleet Units Complete Advanced Training
190314-N-WK982-2032 PHILIPPINE SEA (March 14, 2019) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85), the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69), the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) maneuver while operating in the Philippine Sea. U.S. Navy warships train together to increase the tactical proficiency, lethality, and interoperability of participating units in an Era of Great Power Competition. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Harris/Released)
March 22, 2019 - YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) – For more than 45 years, the U.S. 7th Fleet’s Forward Deployed Naval Force

U.S. Coast Guard Leads PP19 SAR Training
190320-N-NB178-1067 MAJURO, Republic of the Marshall Islands (March 20, 2019) U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Cooper speaks at a search and rescue planning meeting led by Coast Guardsmen from the U.S. Coast Guard 14th District during Pacific Partnership 2019. Pacific Partnership, now in its 14th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. Each year, the mission team works collectively with host and partner nations to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase stability and security in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships in the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tyrell K. Morris)
March 22, 2019 - Pacific Partnership 2019 and Republic of the Marshall Islands government officials began a search

U.S. and Thai Army Engineers share best practices in combat engineering
RATCHABURI, Thailand – Royal Thai Army engineers demonstrate field expedient heavy lift techniques to participants of the 2nd US-Thai Army Field Engineer Subject Matter Expert Exchange, which included Washington Army National Guard Soldiers and a representative from U.S. Army Pacific/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, held at the Royal Thai Army Engineer School, March 18-22, 2019. (Courtesy photo: Royal Thai Army engineer photographer)
March 22, 2019 - RATCHABURI, Thailand -- U.S. and Thai Army Engineers met to enhance defense professionalism by

Top Navy and Marine Corps Leadership Visit Exercise Pacific Blitz 2019
190319-N-YG104-0033 SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND, Calif. (March 19, 2019) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson (center) and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller and speak to Marines during Pacific Blitz 2019. Pacific Blitz provides relevant training that replicates a realistic maritime threat environment designed to improve naval amphibious core competencies necessary for effective, global crisis response expected of the Navy and Marine Corps. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas)
March 22, 2019 - CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and Commandant of the Marine

USS Chief Sails with Philippine Navy
190321-N-IO414-1052 SOUTH CHINA SEA (March 21, 2019) Sailors translate flashing-light Morse code received from Philippine Navy vessel BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF 16) aboard the Avenger class mine countermeasures ship USS Chief (MCM 14) during a maritime cooperative activity. Chief, part of Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7, is operating in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response platform for contingency operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jordan Crouch)
March 22, 2019 - SOUTH CHINA SEA – The Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Chief (MCM 14) conducted a