At a time when B-52 heavy bombers are frequent flyers over the Korean peninsula (see: North Korea shenanigans) it’s nice to know that they’re keeping ready.
Six B-52 Stratofortresses from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, took part in Exercise Combat Hammer, an annual air-to-ground combat training exercise which tests bombing capability, according to a release from Minot.
“We exercise to ensure we are able to hit a target that the Air Force tells us to hit, with weapons they tell us to use, at a time they want it to be hit,” Maj. Ryan Cox, 5th Operations Support Squadron chief of wing scheduling, said in the release. “The exercise evaluates everything from building the bomb, to loading the bomb, to planning the sortie, to dropping the weapon, to hitting the target.”
While the B-52s from the 69th Bomb Squadron only took part Feb. 8-10 of the week-long exercise, they took off from their base and flew out to open range just outside Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
During the exercise, the aircraft dropped laser-guided GBU-12 and GPS-guided GBU-38 bombs on moving targets, the release says.
“Combat Hammer allows Air Force leaders to understand the effectiveness they can expect from the weapons systems they will take to combat,” said Maj. Mike Middents, 5th Bomb Wing staff director.
Last year, B-1 aviators from the 37th Bomb Squadron, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, took part in the exercise outside Eglin; Remotely piloted aircrews from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, in a secondary Combat Hammer exercise in August tested laser-guided bomb from MQ-9 Reaper drones in Utah.
But the exercises aren’t only limited to two events.
Fighter, bomber and RPA units around the Air Force are evaluated four times a year and provided weapons, airspace and targets from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, or Eglin AFB.