View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. News
October 27, 2021

USAF’s F-35A Lightning II fighter jets take part in WSEP tests

The evaluation took place at Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) from 8-23 October.

The US Air Force (USAF) 356th Fighter Squadron’s (FS) first F-35A Lightning II unit in the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) took part in an air-to-air weapons evaluation.

The evaluation took place at Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) from 8-23 October, and represents the completion of the Weapon System Evaluation Program (WSEP) East 22.01 test.

According to the USAF, this is the second fifth-generation platform assessed on employment of live-fire air-to-air weapons. It is conducted in support of the objectives of National Defense Strategy (NDS).

The latest event marks a new milestone for the 356th Fighter Squadron as it moves towards becoming the first initial operational capability (IOC) F-35A squadron in Pacific Air Forces.

53rd Weapons Evaluation Group chief enlisted manager chief master sergeant Scott Grabham said: “An F-35A stationed in the Pacific is one thing, an F-35A stationed in the Pacific that has successfully passed WSEP is another.

“WSEP tests the effectiveness of their daily regime by injecting a deployed environment and live munitions.

“This is often the first time maintainers get a chance to load a live-munition onto their aircraft and the first time aircrew experience launching a missile at a threat representative, manoeuvring target. This is strategic deterrence in the region that needs it most.”

The exercise saw nine live missiles being fired by first-time shooters. The missiles include the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) along with the AIM-9X Sidewinder.

For the first time, pilots could also shoot the F-35A aircraft’s 25mm cannon against a QF-16-towed aerial target gunnery system.

Grabham added: “All of this realistic training is evaluated by a hand-picked mix of experienced aircrew and maintainers empowered to commend and critique exercise participants.

“We compile missile-fire data from our newest platform (F-35A) with our latest missile variants and software, which helps refine tactical application of the weapons system, uncovers any issues with the platform/missile interface, and eventually feeds Air Force doctrine.”

The next event will see WSEP East 22.02 combine with Checkered Flag 22-1 exercise. This activity is scheduled from 8-19 November at Tyndall AFB.

Related Companies

NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. The top stories of the day delivered to you every weekday. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Monday. The defence industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every month.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy


Thank you for subscribing to Airforce Technology