Wisconsin's Badger Air Militia complete first F-35 training deployment

Gepubliceerd op 28 februari 2024 om 16:33

© Wen W

On 23 February 2024, Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 176th Fighter Squadron, part of the 115th Fighter Wing based at Truax Field near Madison (WI), completed the latest Weapons System Evaluation Programme (WSEP) Combat Archer exercise at Tyndall AFB (FL).

Having only gained the first Lockheed Martin F-35A less than a year ago, the exercise was the first training deployment of the unit’s Lightning II aircraft, providing pilots and maintenance personnel experience handling and firing live air-to-air munitions.

WSEP is a formal evaluation of a unit's ability to conduct air-to-air live fire missions. 

Besides giving experience against threat-representative targets it also boosts confidence to the Airmen who handle the live munitions. By loading live munitions on the F-35A, it provides critical feedback to the unit, its planning and procedures and shape better loaders and better technicians.

The two-week WSEP exercise also allowed the Madison based Lightning II pilots an opportunity to practice the tactical departure techniques used in high threat environments. For instance high-speed takeoffs with afterburner are essential to rapidly achieve safe ejection altitudes while minimising ground-to-air threats.

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