TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- 173rd Fighter Wing Airmen traveled to Tyndall Air Force Base on Feb. 20, 2014, to participate in a live weapons training exercise. The Weapons Evaluation System Program provides pilots, aircrew, maintainers, and weapons load crews the chance to operate under realistic combat conditions.
"WSEP evaluates all the links in the chain for how we would do going to combat, from our ammo and weapons troops loading up the live missiles and bullets on the jet, to how our pilots employ those in a realistic scenario," said Maj. Ryan McLain, 173rd FW WSEP project manager.
Feedback is received on how the weapons performed and then analyzed.
McClain said similar training missions are completed at Kingsley Field, but here pilots experience the feelings and sounds of firing live weapons and receive precise analysis of their performance.
He added that the maintenance crews get the satisfaction of seeing their jets perform their missions after they put in all their hard work to get them into the skies.
The missiles and ammunitions are uploaded daily on multiple aircraft depending on the mission.
The 173rd FW had sixteen days to implement their skills and be evaluated on their performance. The 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron has personnel observing crews throughout the two-week period. The assessment is then shared so the unit can see where they were strong and weak.
Maj. Tyler Cox, 173rd FW assistant project manager, said the 173rd Fighter Wing members are, "proving to be world class as always," bringing all of their experience to flawlessly execute their tasks.
The experience was valuable to weapons crew member Staff Sgt. Kayla Rettman, 173rd FW, "because it is just a little different than the CADMs at home."
"It's the same concept," says Rettman. The crews inspect the ammunitions that are brought to them, transport them to the aircraft and upload the M-9 missiles or 20 millimeter to the F-15. The biggest differences are the number of opportunities the crews get to upload and the fact that ammunitions are live.
"It's great that we have the opportunity to come do this and I hope that we're able to do this as much as possible," added Rettman.