A swarm of missiles is fired during a test firing by F-16, New FA-18, and F-22 Raptors

More than a dozen F-22 Raptors joined the F-16 and FA-18 at a ωεɑρσռs evaluation event in Florida. In a rare mass appearance, F-22 Raptors, F-16, and New FA-18 Fighters test-fire a swarm of missiles. In total, 44 fighter jets participated in the training event and got to fire some of the most advanced air-to-air missiles in the U.S. military’s arsenal.

The ധҽąքօղs System Evaluation Program-East formally certifies squadrons in live-fire operations, usually before they deploy. The event took place at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and brought together a large number of 4th and 5th generation fighter jets. More specifically, 16 F-22 Raptors, 16 F-16 Fighting Flacons, and 14 F/A-18 Super Hornets flew in the training event and got to test live-fire procedures.

The F-22 Raptors came from the 90th Fighter Squadron, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, the F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 79th Fighter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, and the F/A-18 Super Hornets came from Carrier Air Wing 17, Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. “WSEP East allowed the Tigers to show off our air dominance as we expertly employed 12 live missiles, 9180 bullets and flew 166 sorties in support of operational and tactical training.

The fighter jets got to fire AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. These two missiles are the U.S. military’s staple air-to-air ωεɑρσռs. The AIM-9 is a heat-seeking munition, meaning that it homes on an enemy aircraft’s heat signature—the engine; the AIM-120 is a radar-guided missile and the go-to choice for engagements beyond a visual range, meaning that an aircraft can fire an AIM-120 at an enemy plane from great distances.

The ധҽąքօղs System Evaluation Program also offers realistic training as the pilots have to engage maneuvering targets. This is all about synergy in the implementation of the event with WSEP/Checkered Flag. Visiting units have the opportunity to participate in two joint-venture major strength training events that promote interoperability and optimize air-to-air capabilities. The data received from events like these help refine the tactical application of the ωεɑρσռ system and benefit a growing shared platform.

But behind the aircraft and pilots that participated are the maintainers and crews that make everything move. On the Navy side of the house, 320 maintainers supported the mission and ensured that the F/A-18 Super Hornets were ready to perform. In addition to giving crews the ability to fire live missiles, the training event sought to increase the interoperability between U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force aircraft. The two services will have to work together during a conflict, especially in the Indo-Pacific area of operations, as it is an environment that encourages both ground- and naval-launched sorties.

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