F-22s, F-35s complete first post-Hurricane Combat Archer air-to-air exercise

F-22s, F-35s complete first post-Hurricane Combat Archer air-to-air exercise

By Dario Leone
Jan 1 2019
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F-22s from the 27th Fighter Squadron and F-35s from the 58th Fighter Squadron successfully flew over 140 sorties and fired 13 missiles

F-22s from the 27th Fighter Squadron and F-35s from the 58th Fighter Squadron successfully flew over 140 sorties and fired 13 missiles to culminate the first post Hurricane Michael Combat Archer air-to-air exercise at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, on Dec. 14, 2018.

“This is the final step of our combat readiness – we assess our operations and maintenance personnel as well as the aircraft itself,” said Lt. Col. Marcus McGinn, 27th Fighter Squadron commander. “We need to make sure we have the ability to load missiles, the aircraft are configured correctly, the aircraft perform as they should when you press the pickle button, the missile performs as advertised, and the pilots know what to expect. All of these aspects must be tested and proven prior to actually needing the process to work in combat.”

As explained by Maj. Ashley Conner, 53rd Wing Public Affairs, in the article Mission Complete: 53rd WEG concludes first post-Hurricane Combat Archer, the 27th FS brought 200 personnel from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, to participate in this Combat Archer, which was flown out of Eglin AFB due to the rebuilding efforts at Tyndall AFB, Florida.

“The amount of coordination that goes into a single missile shoot cannot be quantified. The ability for the 83rd Fighter Weapon Squadron to accomplish this coordination across two different locations (Eglin and Tyndall), with the infrastructure limitations that Tyndall currently has, was unbelievable,” said McGinn.

This was the second Combat Archer the 27th Fighter Squadron has participated in this year. Of the 30 F-22 pilots, six were first time shooters.

“While this was the first time I fired a live missile, I wasn’t nervous,” said 1st Lt. Jake Wong, 27th Fighter Squadron F-22 pilot. “There is the seriousness that I have a live missile on my jet today, which is not something we do every day. The training is really good and the flight profile is controlled so we know what to expect to ensure we fire the missile safely.”

While the aircraft took off from Eglin AFB the sub-scale drones, assigned to the 82 ATRS, took off from Tyndall AFB.

“No other Air Force in the world comes close to the same scale of weapons testing as the U.S. Air Force,” said Lt. Col Ryan Serrill, 82nd ATRS commander. “We recognize the importance of this data to continually improve our warfighters ability which is why it was important to resume the Combat Archer mission so soon after the hurricane.”

The 83rd FWS conducted telemetry data collection and missile analysis, 81st Range Control Squadron conducted command and control and the 53rd Test Support Squadron provided electronic attack pods out of Tyndall AFB.

F-22s, F-35s complete first post-Hurricane Combat Archer air-to-air exercise
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-22A Raptor 192nd Fighter Wing, 149th Fighter Squadron, FF/04-4082 – Langley AFB, VA – 2014

Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Peter Thompson / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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