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Hill AFB units increase flying for weapons evaluations

F-35As fly in weapons evaluation

Airman 1st Class Luigi Amoriello, 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and Maj. James Schmidt, 388th Operations Group, exchange salutes during launch operations at Hill Air Force Base, Aug. 7, 2017. The Airmen and F-35A Lightning II aircraft were participating in Combat Hammer, part of the Weapons System Evaluation Program. For Amoriello, from Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, the launch was his first solo effort. (Paul Holcomb/U.S. Air Force)

388th Load Competition Final F-16

Staff Sgt. Chris White competes in a quarterly load competition, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, July 21, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/R. Nial Bradshaw)

F-35As fly in weapons evaluation

F-35A Lightning II aircraft from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, proceed down the taxiway at the base, Aug. 8, 2017. The F-35s flew Combat Hammer, an evaluation exercise which tests and validates the performance of crews, pilots, and their technology while deploying precision-guided munitions. (Paul Holcomb/U.S. Air Force)

F-35As fly in weapons evaluation

An F-35A Lightning II aircraft from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, drops a 2,000-pound GBU-31 bomb over the Utah Test and Training Range, Aug. 10, 2017. The F-35 flew Combat Hammer, an evaluation exercise which tests and validates the performance of crews, pilots, and their technology while deploying precision-guided munitions. (Photo courtesy Scott Wolff)

Hill AFB, UTTR evaluation exercises close

An F-35A Lightning II aircraft from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, fires an AIM 120 missile at the Utah Test and Training Range, Aug. 17, 2017. The F-35 flew Combat Archer, an evaluation exercise which tests and validates the performance of crews, pilots, and their technology while deploying precision-guided munitions. (Photo courtesy Scott Wolff)

F-35As fly in weapons evaluation

Airmen assigned to the 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare F-35A Lightning II aircraft for flight at Hill Air Force Base, Aug. 7, 2017. The Airmen and aircraft participated in Combat Hammer, a multi-day air-to-ground weapons evaluation which takes place over the Utah Test and training Range. (R. Nial Bradshaw/U.S. Air Force)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah, -- Residents around Hill may notice an increase in aircraft arrivals and departures Aug. 6-24 as Hill’s active duty 388th Fighter Wing, the Reserve 419th FW and 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron conduct the U.S. Air Force air-to-ground exercise known as Combat Hammer and air-to-air exercise known as Combat Archer.

During this time, local residents may also notice aircraft flying during the night hours as pilots continue to sharpen their night-time combat flying skills. On days when night flying occurs, operations are scheduled to end around 10 p.m.

The goal of Combat Hammer is to evaluate the effectiveness, maintainability, suitability, and accuracy of precision guided air-to-ground munitions. Combat Archer evaluates air-to-air weapons systems in live-fire, combat-like environments to improve training, readiness, and effectiveness.

During the weapons evaluations, aircraft travel to the Utah Test and Training Range in Utah’s west desert to drop munitions in realistic combat scenarios. With support from the 388th FW, 419th FW, 75th Air Base Wing, Airmen from the 86th FWS will collect and analyze data on how these precision weapons perform and their suitability for use in combat.

Aircraft participating in the Air Force Weapons System Evaluation Program include: F-35As from Hill AFB; F-15s from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; F-16s from Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., and Nellis AFB, Nev.