WSEP 20.12 provides opportunities for test and training

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt Savanah Bray
  • 53d Wing
The 83d Fighter Weapons Squadron hosted squadrons from across the country for Weapons System Evaluation Program East 20.12 from September 15-25, 2020 enabling first-time shooter experience for front-line Combat Air Force squadrons while shaping the future fight through integrated operational test and Weapons School participation. 
One of those Combat Air Force units was the 1st Fighter Wing’s 27th Fighter Squadron, who had approximately eight first-time shooters at WSEP East 20.12. A first-time shooter is someone who has never fired a live missile before, and WSEP provides the unique opportunity to do so. 
“It’s something awesome that you don’t get to do every day,” said Capt. Kate Archer, F-22 Wingman and WSEP 20.12 assistant project officer for the 27th Fighter Squadron. “It’s cool to be able to do what we train to do, which is fire missiles.”
WSEP 20.12 also provided a venue for the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron and the Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force, to test upcoming Operational Flight Programs for the F-15 C/E and the F-22. Additionally, the units were able to test data-link, sensor, and weapon integration capabilities. 
The 433rd Weapons Squadron also participated in WSEP 20.12 as part of their coursework to conduct air-to-air weapons employment. 
“WSEP East 20.12 is perfect example of how dynamic these evaluations are and how impactful they are for the spectrum of combat test and training,” said Lt. Col. Orion ‘Rhino’ Vail, commander, 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron. “The Lucky Aces, along with the other WEG squadrons, overcame the impacts of Hurricane Sally and challenges of COVID-19 to enable execution of WSEP East 20.12. I am so proud of the Lucky Aces for all their hard work in making this event a success! – Fox Fox!!”
In all, these combined participants fired 51 of 58 planned AIM-120 and AIM-9 missiles, against 16 BQM-167 sub-scale drones and 1 full scale QF-16.
For Capt. Kate Archer, however, WSEP 20.12 is not just an operational experience, it’s a personal one too.  She was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base in the 95th Fighter Squadron when Hurricane Michael hit in October of 2018. 
“It’s really cool and provides a lot of hope to see this base back up and operational,” said Archer.
The full participant list from WSEP 20.12 includes:
-27th Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Wing
-79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Wing
-422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron and 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, 53rd Wing
-Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force
-433rd Weapons Squadron, U.S. Air Force Weapons School