The US Air Combat Command (ACC) F-15E Strike Eagles took part in Dual Capable Aircraft (DCA) Nuclear Weapons System Evaluation Program (NucWSEP).
NucWSEP was held at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada earlier this year.
During this iteration, aircrew and maintenance personnel flew and loaded B61-3 and B61-4 Joint Test Assemblies (JTAs) on F-15Es.
The F-15Es were provided by the 391st Fighter Squadron (391 FS), Mountain Home AFB in Idaho.
Released at the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada, the JTAs were intended to support additional efforts in testing the capability of the F-15E to deliver B61 series tactical nuclear weapons.
ACC Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration deputy director lieutenant colonel Douglas Kabel said: “A Nuclear Evaluation Mission tests and evaluates maintenance, aircrew, and weapons airmen to provide assurance of nuclear capabilities from stockpile to delivery.
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“It improves our readiness by giving our warfighters the experience they would need to employ the F-15E and the B61 series weapons in a future conflict within a contested environment.”
According to the USAF, the F-15E offers a ‘complementary tie’ from fourth-generation Dual Capable Aircraft platforms with fifth and sixth-generation fighter jets, under the ‘4+1’ future fighter plan.
This means that F-15Es continue to play a significant role as the Air Force refines the Combat Air Force, Force Generation Concept.
ACC commander-general Mark Kelly said: “CAFFORGEN will increase and sustain readiness for combat air forces.
“We have to generate high-performing combat teams before combat – and get them in place at the speed of relevance.”
The F-15E dual-role fighter is an advanced long-range interdiction fighter and tactical aircraft. It is the latest version of the Eagle, a Mach 2.5-class twin-engine fighter.
Kabel added: “As a dual-capable aircraft participating in ACE operations, we send a strong message to our allies and adversaries that our capabilities are credible, our options are numerous and we can respond to a crisis in any corner of the world at a moment’s notice.
“These operations enable our joint team to provide extended deterrence to our allies in Europe and around the world in support of our national security strategy.”