The 72nd Test and Evaluation Squadron of the US Air Force recently participated in Combat Sledgehammer event, a training exercise for air force bombers and fighter aircraft capable of carrying thermonuclear bombs and cruise missiles

A nuclear-capable bomber B-2 Spirit fighter aircraft was used in the exercise to conduct an end-to-end, stockpile-to-target force development evaluation to test the entire operational envelope of the aircraft and gravity weapons.

Combat Sledgehammer trains and demonstrates various aspects such as weapons loading, aircraft generation, command and control and weapon release.

US Air Force 72nd TES director of operations Major William Woodward said the test was necessary even though the air force never wants to have to use a nuclear weapons against an enemy.

“Combat Sledgehammer is a chance to prove to ourselves and the rest of the world that if the president asks us to deliver a nuclear weapon, we would do it perfectly,” he said.

“That capability, combined with national political will, is what makes the nuclear deterrent work.”