WSEP East kicks off FY21 with Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground Evals

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt Savanah Bray
  • 53rd Wing
The first Weapons System Evaluation Program-East of Fiscal Year 2021 provided air-to-air and air-to-ground training and evaluation from October 13-23, 2020. 
Hosted jointly by the 83rd and 86th Fighter Weapons Squadrons, WSEP East 21.01 is a showcase event for the recently signed CAF Plan 53. CAF Plan 53 aligns air-to-air weapons evaluations, traditionally known as “Combat Archer,” and air-to-ground weapons evaluations, traditionally known as “Combat Hammer,” under one brand and consolidated plan. Under CAF Plan 53, all evaluations at Tyndall Air Force Base take place under the name “WSEP East,” while evaluations as Hill Air Force Base are branded “WSEP West.”
Participants in WSEP East 21.01 included A-10s from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., F-16s from Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., and MQ-9s from Ellington Field, Texas. 
“This WSEP East not only combines air-to-air and air-to-ground evaluations under CAF Plan 53, but also evaluates the operations and maintenance for active duty, guard, and reserve squadrons in one event,” said Col. Nicholas Reed, commander, 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group.  “This particular evaluation provided A-10 aircraft an opportunity to employ air-to-air weaponry, a rarity in their community and in the deployed makeup of this squadron--it was everyone’s first time.”
In all, WSEP East released and evaluated 10 air-to-air missiles and 57 air-to-ground weapons that allowed for training, feedback, and experience for the participating units, particularly for pilots who have never fired a missile or dropped a bomb before, known as first-time shooters.

“This was top-tier training for our young pilots who had 10 solid days to focus on nothing but weapons employment," said ​Capt. Josh Woodard, Chief Instructor, 75th Fighter Squadron. 
“From our 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron to 53rd Test Support Squadron, it’s the combined team effort that makes WSEP a premier event every single time,” said Reed. “WSEP 21.01 is just the latest of successful evaluations made possible by the professionals across the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group and our Team Tyndall partners.” 
During this WSEP, the 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron celebrated its 37th Birthday. On October 15, 1983, the 83rd FWS activated at Tyndall Air Force base, with the mission to serve as a weapons system evaluation squadron. For almost four decades, the 83rd FWS has supported the essential mission of weapons system evaluation.