An exercise underway at Hill AFB, Utah, is giving pilots the chance to employ precision-guided munitions, but also maintainers the chance to work with weapons they don’t normally see at home stations. Aircraft from a number of Air Force bases are at Hill through Aug. 18 to practice with PGMs on the Utah Test and Training Range during exercises Combat Hammer and Combat Archer, according to a 75th Air Base Wing release. Airmen from 325th Maintenance Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Fla., supported the exercise by building 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions. TSgt. Anthony Mansell, a precision guided munitions evaluator attached to the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron at Hill, said the exercises allow airmen “to work with munitions they don’t get to work with during day-to-day training at home station,” according to the release. And the information gathered during the exercises “really makes a difference for the warfighter and in preparing units to deploy,” he added. (See also: Boeing JDAM Deal Nearly Doubles.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.